In their catalogues and webstores, many whisky dealers call the Finlaggan Cask Strength a “mystery malt”. This is because the bottler, Vintage Malt Whisky, is not allowed to reveal much about this highly popular dram. All we know for sure is that it is a single malt Scotch whisky from the isle of Islay – no distillery, no age, no cask. Since the liquid’s golden hue results from the addition of caramel, the Finlaggan Cask Strength’s vibrant color is also not giving away much. Yet, there are leads. Google tells us that most whisky fans on the internet suspect this strong pour to be a young Lagavulin. An assumption that makes perfect sense to me. Just recently, a friend and I drank the Finlaggan Cask Strength back to back with the Lagavulin 16yo and, especially in the nose, made out quite a few similarities. For comparison, I also tested it against the Caol Ila 12 and Laphroaig 10, both of which were less akin with this whisky than the 16-year-old ‘Vulin. Whether I can fully trust my senses here, I am not sure. But one thing I know for certain: The Finlaggan Cask Strength is a great whisky that offers lotsa bang for little buck. If you are new to Islay malts, it gives you a good impression of a real peat monster that has not yet been tamed by too many years in the barrel. And if you are already familiar with the high-class malts produced on the southernmost of the Inner Herbrides, it marks a killer dram that you can empty just as quickly and easily as you can rebuy it.
Eye: Sundown golden.
Nose: Rough and stormy, with whiffs of hot coal, smoked bacon and iodized salt.
Palate: Young, strong and wild. The Finlaggan Cask Strength is a yeasty Islay whisky full of smoke, meat and spirit. Upfront, there is also a good amount of citrus and further back some liquorice.
Finish: Prepare yourself for a punchy dose of peat coming straight at you! Baaam!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Age: No Age Statement
Alc. volume: 58%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~33.00 Euro
More info: http://www.vintagemaltwhisky.com/finlaggan/ ; http://www.facebook.com/finlagganwhisky