Elixir Distillers recently upgraded the core Port Askaig range (see this news post). Last weekend at Spirits in the Sky I had the opportunity to try the three new expressions. Easy to note that the presentation has been upgraded: the whisky comes in the same embossed bottle but now has gold lettering and a more dynamic colour scheme.
The 8 Year Old is already a great entry-level whisky, with lots of warming smoke, mineral notes and complexity as a result of its wide series of casks in the mix. Only the vegetal side is a little loud for my personal taste. The Cask Strength small batch is very good, offering plenty of punch and a nice dose of maritime sharpness and leathery smoke. I hope to revisit them and write detailed tasting notes soon.
On to the Port Askaig 17 Year Old. It was one of the first whiskies at the festival that made me go ‘wow’. This single malt will appear in yearly batches of around 9000 bottles.
Port Askaig 17 yo (50,5%, OB 2023, American oak casks)
Nose: elegance and intensity. Plenty of olive brine, oyster water, cold ashes and hints of fresh newspapers. Then hints of ink, bright lemon juice and zests, fresh grassy notes and a combination of menthol and eucalyptus. Darker bonfire smoke appears in the background. Complex and right on the money.
Mouth: herbal but at the same time warming coal smoke, immediately followed by dark chocolate ganache. Hints of worn leather, salted caramel and seashells. A lovely saltiness and mocha. Then walnut skins and a mineral sharpness. A subtle fruitiness in the background, as well as sweet herbs.
Finish: very long, on lingering herbs, briney notes and warm ashy smoke.
Port Askaig may have a new face, but it seems the quality is only improving as well. This 17 Year Old sits in a sweet spot between vivacity and maturity – great blending work! Now available from The Whisky Exchange for instance.