Port Askaig 8 Years / Cask Strength (2023)

Port Askaig 8 Years / Cask Strength (2023)

After the takeover of Speciality Drinks (parent company of The Whisky Exchange) by Pernod Ricard in November 2021, the Port Askaig whisky range moved over to Elixir Distillers. It underwent a design makeover with carefully tweaked recipes.

I already tried the brilliant Port Askaig 17 Year Old a few weeks ago and now I have a chance to try the rest of the core range.

Port Askaig 8 Year Old is matured for around three years in American oak barrels. Then it moved to bourbon barrels, toasted American oak, Pedro Ximénez sherry butts and refill hogsheads.


Port Askaig 8 yo (45,8%, Elixir Distillers 2023)

Nose: starts quite vegetal and yeasty, which evolves to lots of seaweed, fresh kelp and wet leaves. Some mashy malt and hints of porridge. Then wet pebblestones, clam shells and salty sea spray, charred lemon peels, almonds and cold smoke. Hints of new rubber boots as well.

Mouth: very, very oily, with a sweet fattiness and ashes. Almond notes, salted notes and vegetal oils. Perhaps less peat than I expected, but that’s good because the coastal character is brilliant. Light vanilla cake, sweet lemon and apple, fresh malt and new tires and hints of heather. Drying hints of liquorice and more ashes in the end.

Finish: medium long, with warmer smoke, earthy olive oil, black peppercorn and a light creamy note.

A nice entry-level whisky which offers plenty of Islay character. It may be a little rough on the nose, but it manages to convince much more on the palate, with a great oily texture. Overall good value. Available from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt and many local retailers.


The Port Askaig Cask Strength is also an Islay single malt, matured in 25% first fill toasted bourbon barrels and 75% refill American oak hogsheads. No more than 60 casks go into each batch, so expect a slightly different take on the Islay character each time.


Port Askaig Cask Strength (59,4%, Elixir Distillers 2023, Small Batch #01-2023)

Port Askaig Cask Strength - Batch 01-2023 Nose: cleaner, on lemon, green apple and charcoal. Then deep, cooled down bonfire smoke, wildflowers and salty air. Also a hint of crushed mint leaves and iodine which lift this one. Subtle salted butter, pickled lemon and grassy touches. Even though it may not be much older, this Cask Strength feels more vibrant and more elegant than the slightly brash nose of the 8 Year Old.

Mouth: intense, leafy and coastal. Iodine and mineral notes. Savoury and earthy notes. Then a balancing creamy note and subtle vanilla, as well as sweet lemon, nutmeg and a hint of chalky dryness. Deep barbecue smoke, charred orange zest and dark chocolate towards the end. Highly drinkable considering the high ABV.

Finish: long and ashy, with underlying cocoa notes, black pepper, iodine smoke and vanilla.

The 100 Proof was really good, but again they managed to upgrade it. Beautiful intensity coupled to a highly drinkable character. Pretty much everything you’d expect. The 17 Year Old is more complex but in terms of value for money, this is hard to beat. Now available from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt for instance and plenty of local retailers. Score: 88/100