South Islay Jewel 5 Years Review

"A Jewel That Needs To Be Tamed"  

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: South Islay Jewel (Anam Na H-Alba " The Soul of Scotland Series") 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 5 Years
ABV: 59 %
Sample Provided By Thomas from Germany. Many Thanks!

Colour: Pale Gold/White Wine

Nose: New Spirit, Apples and Pears, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Ashes, Tar, light Rubber, light Leather, Charred Oak, Salted Raw Meat, Fish and Shell Fish, Burnt Toast, Light Iodine, Sweet Toffee and a bit of Citrus. Good interplay between the Cask and Spirit during the 5 Years. The Alcohol is very strong and it's quite difficult to Nose around it. It's your typical young Islay Malt. You either like it or you don't!

Palate: Sharp, Young, Dirty and Edgy with Sweet Peat, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Soot, Tar, Brine, Herbal Tea, Burnt Toast, Medicinal Tones, Vanilla, Lemon,  Aniseed, Pepper and Salt.

Finish: Middle-Long and Strong thanks to the high ABV. I find Charred Oak, Tar, Ashes, Wet Clay, Leather, Cold Smoke, Menthol Cigarettes, Grapefruit Juice, Cold Black Coffee, Herbal Tea, Vanilla and Fish marinated in Salt, Pepper and Mint. It's quite Dry in the end.

With a teaspoon of water this young Jewel settles down a bit without losing too much of its original characteristics. On the Nose, the Peat and Smoke become slightly more Civilised and you'll find more Salt and Brine. On the Palate it's almost like tasting a peated New Spirit. Quite Sweet really. The Finish is way shorter with Water. Still, on account of the high ABV, I recommend to add a bit of Water. 

Rating: 85.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks: Today's Single Cask Mystery Malt from Southern Islay was distilled in 2007 and bottled in March 20-13 at Cask Strength by Independent Whisky bottler Anam Na H-Alba from the town of Oberhausen in Germany. It matured in a Fresh Bourbon Hogshead, is Uncoloured and Not Chill-Filtered. It sells at around 70 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: In a Blind Tasting I might have easily identified the Nose of this Jewel as a peated Kilchoman. The Peat and Smoke are quite similar to the Loch Gorm I tasted the other day. But on the Palate the Sea Elements would wash away that theory quickly. It's probably a young Ardbeg but I wouldn't put all my money on it as I sense some traces of Lagavulin as well. In any case it's a very young Islay that is almost too strong and fiery to taste neat. It does not happen a lot but in this case I recommend to add some water. I won't drink this every day but The South Islay Jewel is a good effort by Anam Na H-Alba. It beats Smokehead in my opinion!

Jan van den Ende                                                            August 24, 2014

Is this the Jewel's Home?

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