Poit Dhubh, named after the Gaelic term for an illicit still, celebrates the illustrious tradition of illicit whisky-making which became legendary throughout the history of the Gaeltachd of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The illicit stills being regarded traditionally as a source of some of the most revered whiskies, held in high regard by connoisseurs of discerning taste.
Reviews of things like Highland Park 30 or Talisker 40 are all well and good. For those people who can either get samples or buy bottles to open and share with us all its a nice thing to see. However, these whisky porn articles are no different to Top Gear reviewing a Ferrari or McLaren they just do not impact on our daily lives. For most of us we can’t afford such halo products and need to cut our cloth more to suit our means. The problem is where are the reviews of those affordable good value whiskies which we see on a shelf but know nothing about.
I am here to help.
Poit Dhuhb (pronounced Potch Ghoo) is produced by Praban na Linne which is a company on the Isle of Skye which has been around since the 1970’s. The owner of this company was Sir Iain Noble. Sir Iain was a entrenpeur who started the merchant bank Noble Grossart. The proceeds from being bought out his stake bought him part of the Isle of Skye.
Not being a native Gaelic speaker Sir Iain is best remembered for his educational work in promoting and neuturing the language in a time of deep decline in its usage. The Praban na Linne company was part of that wider plan to reinvigorate contemporary usage and visability of the language.
The 21 year old is a blended malt aged for at least 21 years. The bottle is nice enough to tell us it is unfiltered and natural colour at 43% ABV. There is not a lot of this around but you should expect to pay up to £60 in the UK for a bottle. It seems to appear quite seasonally suggesting quite small batches are being produced. The marketing also mentions the use of some sherry casks which I think has either been a finish or a small component of the blend from my tasting of it anyway.
Colour – dark russet
Nose – The nose is sweet with floral honey, candied fruits, spiced oranges and caramel sauce. With a drop of water there is a spicier side with cloves and a dry herbaceous edge as well.
Palate – The palate is again sweet and I definitely pick up a long term ex-bourbon maturation flavour wheel. There is the exotic fruits and vanilla notes you would expect. However, there is subtle hints of dried fruits and oranges which suggest a touch of sherry. The texture though is very good and without reading the blurb on the box I could just tell there was no chill-filtration here.
Finish – Up to now the whisky has been quite subtle and mellow. Certainly, there is lots of flavour and its easy to pick out notes but there hasn’t been any aggressive edges to the whisky. That somewhat changes in the finish which while long is prickly and hits you with some chilli heat. That is not so say it doesn’t have a sweetness to counteract at least some of that power but it is definitely unbalanced on the heat side
This is a really impressive whisky at a great price. These kind of deals are increasingly getting harder to find. It would be easy for this to be like so many independent bottles of high age low maturation whisky on the shelves. Partly that is the reason why I am so reluctant to take a risk on these kind of bottles. If all the products from Praban na Linne are like this then it is on my must buy list.