The Ileach (‘the islander’ of Islay in Gaelic) is a NAS from Islay, bottled and marketed at sensationally low prices by the Vintage malt whisky company. Founded in 1992 by Brian Crook, today it is famous for having in its portfolio, among other brands (the single cask of The Cooper’s choice and the blended GlenAlmond), several labels of Islay whiskies from undisclosed distilleries such as Finlaggan, Islay Storm and The Ileach. The liquid is said to come from a distillery we love very much, that lays between Ardbeg and Laphroaig and some creative people pronounce it in French, like Lupin. This is the cask strength version.
N: a tanker laden with embarrassing hydrocarbons, scents ranging from naphtha to exhaust pipe, the whole cycle of crude oil from producer to consumer. A lot of dirt and a definite organic note: smoked haddock, mezcal and something very pulp, like grilled entrails (French andouillette comes to mind). Then there is an enormous sweetness of lollipop, melted banana candy, or orange, or strawberry, or some unidentified chemical extract. There is also a bit of sea, like iodine and rocks. Obviously tarred, poor cormorants.
P: very sweet and very burnt but not very light nor very elegant. In general, however, it is better than the nose, the smog has thinned out and the peat is complete and still organic, like barbecue. An acidity then appears that makes you salivate, between the sweet and sour sauce and orange duck (today we woke up Masterchef, we are feeling the pressure test). There’s no hiding the youthfulness, with a hint of candied fruit – obviously burnt as well – that really stands out. Savoury.
F: roasted chestnuts, still sweet with burnt caramel, acrid smoke from burning tyres.
The nose had taken us by surprise like a Vanzina film without flatulence jokes. It is really too raw and crude, that sense of polluted petrochemicals. On the palate it proceeds in a cauldron-like manner, where tar is still king and a strong sweetness its concubine. For elegance and finesse, look elsewhere. It has an evident island DNA and an important but well-integrated alcohol content. For the price it is worth it, if you do not want to examine it with a raised eyebrow and have the ambition to drink it, simply: 79/100.
Recommended sountrack: Slipknot – Psychosocialin the banjo cover by Leo Moracchioli