Filthy Smoke 10yo Islay Single Malt 42.8% 50cl
Heavily peated whiskies are like Marmite - the flavour profile can be so intense you either absolutely love it or think it's the worst thing on Earth. True story - during my days with The Whisky Shop I once had a customer come in after Christmas wanting to return a bottle he had been gifted because it was 'corked'. It was a Laphroaig 10yo and he'd never encountered a heavily peated whisky before, and it took us a good ten minutes to assure him that yes, this IS what it's supposed to taste like!
But peat can influence the actual flavour of 'smokiness' in very different ways. You can get peppery notes, BBQ sweetness, medicinal elements, iodine, methol, earth, all sorts. It can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but it's also why 'smoky' whiskies are so much fun to explore as they are all different.
But at least with a bottle called 'Filthy Smoke', you've got a pretty good idea what to expect straight off the bat. This is a 'mystery' 10yo Single Malt from Islay, bottled by the crazy gang at ATOM Labs, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. The back label claims they finish a 'small portion' in Sherry casks specially selected for their gunpowdery, almost sulphur-y notes, but judging by the colour and assuming no e150a caramel has been added, I reckon this is Sherry maturation all the way anyway - it's a lovely burnt umber colour.
'Filthy' is about right - there's a rich sweetness underlying but the smoky notes are dense, very much bonfire and pepper going on here, with a touch of a dry earth character too. Sometimes mystery bottlings can be found out through word of mouth, but here I'm struggling to determine what distillery it is. Possibly Caol Ila, but my gut instinct is going with Bowmore, although Ardbeg is a possibility.
Either way, it offers precisely what you might expect, and it ticks a LOT of boxes for me!
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