It’s been a while but we are back just before the start of June. The last article was on a wolfburn sent out from Whisky-Me. This article to mark returning to writing is also from Whisky-Me and its also close to my Ayrshire roots.
The Ailsa Bay distillery is a relatively new distillery built on the Girvan grain site. While a lot of new distilleries are cookie cutter like affairs which include a large visitor centre component to the business model the Ailsa Bay distillery is different. Built to produce malt whisky for blending into the William Grant portfolio it is a role it shares with the Kininvie distillery. While Kininvie distillery is a Glenfiddich replacement Ailsa Bay is the Balvenie replacment now both brands are being utilised almost exclusively for single malt production.
Since 2016 a small brand has been developed and released in small batches for the Ailsa Bay distillery. The brand incorporates a number of small batch releases of which the 1.2 is the latest. By turning up the peat element in this release over the previous ones what Ailsa Bay is also showing is the dynamic nature of the distillery to meet its corporate strategy. Rarely has a distillery been able to be used as an instrument for producing multiple products as well as this.
In terms of Ailsa Bay releases I had the first release from 2016 which cost I think £55. Around that time I was buying up the first general releases from a number of distilleries which were coming of age at the time. Recently though I realised that all I had done was spend a decent amount of number on a range of bottles none of which I would ever open. Not because they were ultra rare or collectable but rather they all reviewed poorly elsewhere so what I actually had was a shelf of rather average and non-descript whiskies which have now all been sold on to someone who might enjoy them more than me.
Sporting a rather wonderful bottle again with what must be the heaviest cork in Scotch Whisky the 1.2 is a fine looking bottle of whisky. Bottled at 48.9% there is a lot of quality for the same price I paid for the first release in 2016 at £55. It seems to be widely available although there wasn’t any great fanfare for its release so I do wonder what the future of the brand is when its not being heavily pushed at least just now.
Colour – Yellow straw
Nose – very sweet nose of banoffee pie, toffee sponge and sweet floral peat. There is an edge of spirit sharpness which just hits the back of the nose but it isn’t too bad.
Palate – There is a thinness to the texture and a delicate nature of the palate. More of the sweet peat dominates around a candied lemon peel and vanilla pods.
Finish – Like the palate the finish is short from something holding the whisky back. There is a spicy kick of pepper and chilli though which makes for a drying and bitter finish.
I have to say I recommend this whisky. It is interesting, sweet and engaging for a very decent price. In a market filled with over priced trash this is a decent one to watch out for.