Taste: Marks and Spencer Islay 12 Year Old


We're at the midway point in the Marks & Spencer regional single malt range and setting ashore on Islay. I was reasonably pleased with our starting point of the Highland whisky release last week which was almost Speyside in its characteristics.

This is another instalment in the endless supermarket whiskies I'm continuing to seek out and experience. For others just type in 'supermarket' into the search function and they should appear. I've toured several of the main UK outlets including Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. Needless to say I have quite a few more to visit and I expect more surprises await. Meanwhile, lets move onto this Islay edition.  


Distillery: unknown Islay
Strength: 40% ABV
Age: 12 year
Price: 70cl £29.99

Colour: 9 carat gold

Nose: this does smell like Islay and maybe Bunnahabhain if I was to pluck a possibility out however that's just speculation. Not a smoky bruiser but more of a gentle slap on the nose. An oily peaty residue that transports you to the region. Orange peel, apple cider, pine nuts in the background but the nose achieves what is says on the label; Islay and isn't hugely complex.

Taste: A smokiness from the last embers of a nearly extinguished wood fire is the first hit followed by a touch of brine and sea salt. The finish arrives with a touch a cream and that nice glow from having visited Islay.

I'm not hugely taken with this offering. A true taste of Islay is offered by the Asda Extra Special regional release rather than this postcard example which is around the same price point. It is Islay light and only a hint of what this wonderful place can truly offer. I suppose for those daring to venture into this region this malt might be a support act before the main event and hints at what you should expect but never fully delivers.

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