Back to the independent bottlers today with the Finlaggan series of Islay single malts.
The Finlaggan brand is owned by the Vintage Malt Whisky Company of Milngarvie. The company has a number of different brands covering scotch whisky.
The Finlaggan brand though is named after the historic ruined castle on Islay called Finlaggan castle. This was the powerhouse of the “Lord of the Isles” using the 14th and 15th century. These were Viking kings who ruled over the western scottish islands and a small part of the western mainland completely free from Scottish royal control.
Today this ruined site is a tourist attraction and maintained by a charitable trust which the Vintage Malt Whisky Company also support.
For more information on the trust please go to www.finlaggan.org
Being an independent bottling I want to believe these are unchill filtered and contain no E150A. I can’t see anywhere that it does actually say that though. The alcohol percentage is 46% so there is no need to filter it. The price is as you might hope very competitive at £42.20 here.
Colour – Rustic orange
Nose – coastal brine with a subtle backbone of bacon. If you leave the glass the sherry fruit flavours come through the smoke
Palate (no water) – First the ashy peat but really not much of a fruitcake you might expect from a sherry finish. The colour suggests a long finish but the palate suggests a much shorter finish.
Palate (water) – vanilla and coconut now for the first time. The slight hint of a damp sherry cask
Finish(no water) – The sweet fruitcake comes through on the finish with more of the smoked meat as the finish departs.
Finish (water) – much more fruit now. The peat smoke has taken the back seat on the finish now
Whenever you try an independently bottled single malt with an unknown Islay distillery you cannot help but work out the source. On that front my first thought on the nose was Bowmore. That coastal briny note always seems like Bowmore to me. Well Bowmore or Bruichladdich but Bruichladdich is unlikely in this context. However, the robust meaty peat in the mouth makes me change my mind maybe to Laphroaig but I am not sure.
In reality, the source is not important. What is important is if this bottle gives you value for money. On that note it definitely does deliver. My favourite style at the moment is a whisky with a robust peat and an equally strong, chewy sherry influence. This whisky is not quite there, the sherry influence just isn’t strong enough. The initial bourbon matured whisky before the finish is of great quality and really carries this whisky home.