I’m still a little weary after trying to find accurate information about the Ealanta. I’m skeptical that the label on that one was completely truthful. Were the casks really heavily charred as the label said, or were they heavily toasted as their press release indicated… or was this perhaps, a mix of both of them, toasted casks comprising the dominant share?
With that fresh in my mind, reading the Finealta’s label makes me wonder if the malt is really all lightly-peated, as it indicates, or if maybe they didn’t have a few moderately peated casks they loosened up with a few casks of the Original 10 and some Oloroso stock from the 18. It certainly smells plausible.
Knowing it’s there makes it very obvious, but if the label and ad copy hadn’t indicated this was lightly peated whisky it might have had me contemplating for a few moments whether the phenolic wafts were from the wood or the malt. It’s very light with the peat. It’s classically sweet, too, like most Glenmorangie’s are, almost too sweet. It’s like candied bacon; I’m not quite sure it should exist. I mean, bacon is good, and sugar is good, but together? I don’t know… then again, brown sugar and smokey bacon work just fine in a barbecue sauce, so maybe I’m over-thinking it.
Nose: At moments it has a subtle meatiness and tang, like a grilled hamburger with ketchup. A little papery, but still fruity. I can’t tell if it’s cherry or raspberry in this one… maybe both, but very reserved. Sweetly woody and mildly smokey, like a brand new camping trunk back from it’s first trip to summer camp. Mild iodine with house cat, lavender and memories of blowing into Nintendo cartridges. A tiny bit of melted vanilla ice cream over candied ginger and oatmeal cookies. The apricot is almost cloying in this context.
Palate: Oatmeal cookie concentrate and dark brown sugar rush in with smoked tomatoes en papillote. Savory copper middle notes. Hearts of palm, pinto beans and sweetened lobster bisque while it’s on the tongue. Very sweet for a peated whisky. Lime and a touch of tequila in the finish. Fried bread crumbs waft up from my chest after the sipping has been over for a minute. This would pair well with good Mexican food; maybe some Milanesa empanizada?
I had a hard time choosing the rating on this one. It has a little of that tequila youth to it, but other than that, it smells and tastes great. Peaty whisky can stand a little youth and still be delicious, too. On the other hand, it’s a little unsettling for me to explore a peaty whisky that’s so damn sweet even though peated whisky pairs well with sweet foods. I guess I’m just not used to tasting so much of it in the spirit. In the end, I’d say for it’s unusual constitution, limited status and overall lack of fatal flaws, it wouldn’t be my first choice, but I could definitely recommend it.
Thanks to Gretha Smart and David Blackmore over at Glenmorangie for the bottle.