MacLeod's Islay 8 Years Review

Country: Scotland
Brand: MacLeod's
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Region: Islay
Age: 8 Years
Alcohol: 40%
Date: 17/11/2013

Colour: Golden Amber (E 150 is added)  

Nose: It certainly smells a bit like a young Islay with Smoke (Burnt Newspaper and Burnt Grass), Peat, Brine, Wallpaper Glue, Rubber, Alcohol, Nuts, Leather Saddles, Raw Meat, Toffee, light Licorice, light Vanilla, light Oak and Mineral tones. Hints of Sherry and Citrus. Probably matured in a mix of Re-Fill Ex-Bourbon and Re-Fill Ex-Sherry Casks. 

Palate: Watery Delivery with Smoke, Peat, Lemon-Peel, Caramel/Toffee, Salt, Licorice, Pepper, Alcohol, Rubber, Tar, Leather, Nuts and Mineral tones like Sand and Rocks.

Finish: Middle-Long with Charcoal, Salt, Pepper, Vinegar, Malt, Raw Fish, Nuts, Butterscotch, Perfumed Soap, light Ashes, Tar, Sugared Tea and a hint of BBQ Sauce. Slight Alcohol Burn.

The MacLeod's Islay does not accept Water very well. It simply becomes too Thin and Watery.  

Rating: 76.5

Nose: 20 – Taste: 19 – Finish: 18.5 – Overall: 19

General Remarks: This Islay Single Malt was produced and bottled by Ian MacLeod Distillers Ltd, an Independent Bottler established in 1934 and a.o. owner of the Glengoyne Distillery and various Blends such as Isle of Skye and Smokehead. Many people will know their Chieftain's range as well. The Islay is part of a small collection known as MacLeod's Scotch Whisky Trail that also includes a Single Malt from Lowland, Speyside, Highland and Islands as well as the before mentioned Isle of Skye Blend. A full bottle of the Islay costs around 45 US Dollars. A Miniature Gift Set is also widely available. (See Picture Above).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion: I find it difficult to judge Single Malts like this. On the one hand Ian MacLeod managed to present an acceptable, true to nature young Islay. On the other hand, this Islay 8 years suffers from youth, indifferent wood and a low ABV. It's a bit dull and lifeless. Save a little bit more and buy an Ardbeg 10 if you're looking for a great young Islay. That's what I would do! But of course you also want to know what distillery produced this Islay 8 years. Can't be sure here but i would guess either Lagavulin or Bowmore. If you have any thoughts on it, please leave a comment! 

Jan van den Ende                                                      November 2013

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