“Balance” – Secret Islay 14yo by Old Particular “The Spiritualist Series” (Review)

Balance Islay 14yo by Old Particular - The Spiritualist Series (Single Malt Scotch Whisky Peated BarleyMania)

Keep it slow, keep it easy, keep it unagitated. In the fast-moving times we are living in, it is sometimes wiser to shift a gear down rather than up. Leisure and relaxation are invaluable goods to which we should all treat ourselves from time to time. Douglas Laing know this very well. And thus they have now started a new sub-line within their Old Particular brand. Leveled and even-tempered, the respective whiskies from the four-piece “The Spiritualist Series” will take us on a journey towards tranquility. The debut release is a 14-year-old single cask bottling from a secret Islay distillery, matured in a refill hogshead and bottled at cask strength. One of its best qualitities is the wonderful interplay of clearness, tastiness and complexity. No vehemence or fierceness here, but the contemplating beauty of a peaty malt that came to rest after 14 years in a marvelous cask.

by Tobi

Eye: A sandy shore draped in the dim light of an early morning.
Nose: The first thing I notice is how clear and clean this whisky is. Wow! When I take another sniff, I get a maracuja freshness, a maritime saltiness and a cotton candy sweetness. Plus more fruits: gooseberries, lichees and lemons. After a short while, an invigorating apple juice note appears. It is accompanied by oven-warm, fluffy waffles with icing sugar. Last but not least, I get an austere quality (wet stones, thick rope, old planks). The smoke is fumy and ashy – as if someone had deeply inhaled their cigarette and blown the smoke directly into my face.
Palate: The whisky starts out very lean. But the longer I keep it in the mouth, the milkier and weightier it gets. It tastes fruity (maracuja), sweetish (cookies) and “green” (peppers). And, of course, peaty (tar)! Other prominent notes are those of cocoa powder, vanilla milk and caramelized walnuts. The cask strength ABV is very well integrated, producing no more than a wee tickle. Sometimes, I like to compare Islay malts to raging beasts – fierce, wild, aggressive and untamed. But this one is different. Due to its roundedness, complexity and grace, I would rather match it with a proud phoenix or a colorful sea serpent.
Finish: The aftertaste is lasting and memorable. It is meaty and sweet at the same time – as if you would spread beef garpaccio on a honey cake. Besides this uncommon yet fingerlicking good combination of flavors, I also found creamy milk chocolate, mint-flavored toffee fudge and grated lemon zest in the finish. Plus camomile tea with a lot of rock candy. Oh, and let us not forget the smoke. After all, we are on Islay here!

Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 14 years
Cask: Refill hogshead
No. of bottles: 325
Alc. volume: 52.3 per cent
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~130.00 Euro
More info: http://www.douglaslaing.com/ (Bottler) ; http://www.bremerspirituosencontor.de/ (Importer)


    1. It’s amazing. Regarding the distillery: As with most mystery bottlings, there’s quite a few hints floating around on social media and Google. So I would rather recite than guess the whisky’s origin … 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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