I must confess that this single cask bottling from the Spirit & Cask Range did not sound too tempting to me at first. In this age span, you find quite a lot of bourbon-matured whiskies from Southern Islay; and usually they are a bit more friendly to your wallet. Luckily, I not only got to know this peat monster on paper, but also in the glass. In a masterclass by Helgoheiner, it followed up on such illustrious sips as an Invergorden 45yo, a Glenrothes 27yo or a Miltonduff 23yo. And to me, it was not only the last dram of the line-up, but also the best. Okay, I cannot withhold the fact that I am quite a fanboy of the celebrated Islay unit, which Bessie Williamson managed from the late 1930s to the early 1970s. So maybe I was a little biased. But even if I take my rose-colored Laphr… erm… Williamson glasses off, the fact remains that this is one truly outstanding Scotch that any peat lover will greatly enjoy. Whether you are willing to pay the steep price attached to it, is another story. But if you got the dough and want to invest it in a special bottle that scores not with its name or age, but with its content, this Williamson 12yo is an insiders’ tip you better note down.
Eye: Pale, sandy yellow.
Nose: A powerful mix of earthy peat and phenolic smoke. Enshrouded in this dense plume of steam, we also find mineralic notes of moist stones and clammy rocks, fresh aromas of pine cones and lemon zest and heavy smacks of beef jerky and smoked fish. A beguiling sweetness lures underneath and pierces through again and again. A strong, complex and helluva fine nose!
Palate: Now salt and licorice step forth, while wood, lime and meat stay back. The liquid feels oily in the mouth and the raised ABV produces a pleasant burn. The afore-mentioned sweetness is also present. I don’t get too much peatsmoke on the tongue, but believe me, it will make its return as soon as I swallow the whisky down.
Finish: This 12-year-old Williamson’s aftertaste is long-lasting and well-defined with an emphasis on Islay peat and candyshop sweetness. In addition, it also offers burnt pastrie, engine oil, toothpaste and band-aids. Like the nose and the palate, the finish is very multi-layered and mouth-watering. There’s no doubt about it: This is one of the most exciting oldschool malts from the south coast of Islay that found its way into my glass in recent times!
Type: “Teaspooned” Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 12 Years Old
Alc. volume: 55 per cent
# of bottles: 294
Cask type: ex-bourbon
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~138.00 Euro
More info: http://www.spirit-cask-range.com/ (Bottler)