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KCM Spirit Reviews

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review 220: Duthies Islay Blended Malt

Review 220
Duthies Islay Blended Malt: 46% abv

Background: This will mark a very distinctive review. This will be the first time reviewing a bottle that actually was born in Scotland. What’s that mean? That means we haven’t seen it in the US and we’re lucky to have the opportunity to sit down and review this one. So Duthies is part of Cadenhead’s, an independent bottler that does 46%, non-chill filtered whiskies. Classic Cadenhead’s whiskies are cask strength, so this is a little less big and bad. That being said, Cadenhead’s doesn’t really do anything to tell us what’s in the whisky…or anything about the barrel…really anything at all. They do tell us it is a natural color, non-chill filtered, 46% Islay blend of single malts, and frankly, that’s good enough.


Nose: Well the Islay branding doesn’t disappoint, because the classic peat aroma in the nose is very prevalent. Don’t worry though, a balance of sweetness, fruitiness, and delicate grains also contribute to a very equalized whisky. You will find sweet apple and grapes on the nose, sugary by nature, and a good, rich malt to balance it out. Some oil and leather also come out in the nose, with a rich smoky wood smell in the foreground. Oddly enough, you’ll see that there is a light smell of chlorine in the whisky, followed by a little bit of rubber. There is definitely floral notes in the whisky too, with rose water being a major factor.  

Arrival: The arrival starts off with a very oily, peaty blast of flavor. There is no end to saltiness, brine, and thick smoke. The arrival starts off with a pretty tangy, citrus lemon flavor, that transforms into a pretty bold orange flavor which transfers into the body. There is a bulk of sweet barley and honey in the arrival as well. Hot spices are also a big part of the arrival. The whisky has a little bit of cane sugar that couples with the rest of the complexities.

Body: There is a noticeable contribution of mint to the body of flavor. The body keeps the malt and saltiness intact, with a beautiful smokiness that accentuates the whisky. The cane sugar flavor sticks around for the body. There is a deep oak flavor in the body and finish.

Finish: The finish is extremely dry, with sustained saltiness, bold spices, and a steady dose of peat. The mint that was noticed before in the body is still present in the finish. The finish is also relatively savory and has a hint of tobacco smoke to it. Residual oak is noticeable as the finish subsides.

With Water

Nose: Some black peppercorn and creaminess is actually opening up in the whisky now. The smoke is definitely bigger in the nose. There is a bit of a candy-like smell that the water is starting to bring out. There is a different kind of wood that is coming through as well, potentially cedar, as well as a smell of fresh sawdust.

Arrival: The arrival is still a bit tart, with intense sweetness and fruitiness. There is some definite citrus still in the arrival. The salt is still big, with some bitter spices and mintiness.
Body: The mint in the body is much bigger, with a lot of salt, and a subtly of pineapple and other bitter fruits.

Finish: Still a salt monster, the finish gives off bitter oak and smokiness. It is very similar to how it was before, with a bit of honey. The sweetness has dialed down, and the smoke doesn’t last very long. The finish doesn’t sustain the same way as it did before water.

Final Comments: Is this worth your time should you run across it? Absolutely. The peated whisky market is fashionable and booming right now, and because of that prices are kind of getting a little bit scary. What this does as a result is allows for somebody to buy a good quality blended malt whisky without any major branding schemes or marketing nonsense inflating the price of the whiskies quality. This won’t be the earthshattering, complex whisky you might find in other bottles, but that’s okay. For the price, it is a good way of enjoy your liquid smoke without having another mortgage.

Why you’d buy it: You like peat in classic fashion without needing to know who’s giving it to you.
Why you wouldn’t: NOTHING is better than Lagavulin *adjusts monocle*

Score: 8.5/10

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