I was at Trader Joe's the other day, and noticed a selection of single malt scotches for less than $20. Quite frankly, this scared me. I wasn't sure if it was even possible to find a drinkable single malt in that price range, but I decided to purchase one just in case my premonitions were wrong. I chose the Islay Storm (an independent bottling of Islay single malt), and it turns out that it is quite drinkable and enjoyable. This particular Islay whisky is not as complex in comparison to the vast majority of Islay whiskies, but it does have plenty of redeeming qualities. Nose
-- Right off the bat, one is able to pick up dominant charred oak/campfire smoke aromas indicating that this is going to be a heavier-hitting Islay. Other notes that lie in the background are dried leaves, musty seaweed, and hints of ocean spray. All in all, fairly consistent in nature with more expensive single malts from Islay, but this particular single malt tended to be a bit one dimensional and predictable.Taste
-- The mouthfeel is lively and oily dominated by tastes of charred oak and peat. Once those tastes settled, I got a feel that the whisky really opened up because the latter half of the flavor profile contains tastes of caramelized brown sugar, salt water, and seaweed.Finish
-- The finish was medium-long in length, and the flavors were all tied together with a bit of spice.Overall
-- As I said before, the flavor profile tended to be fairly predictable and a little boring. Nothing really wrong with that since I suspect this is a young whisky (aged 5-6 years), and the intricate flavors haven't had time to fully marry and tie in with the rest of the spirit. After comparing tasting notes, I'd be willing to bet this is a young Lagavulin.Final Marks
-- 80/100 (ie. well worth the $20).