Tucked away within the Girvan Grain Whisky Complex, single malt distilleries don’t come much more reclusive than Ailsa Bay. Built to supply malt whisky for William Grant’s blends, there was a feeling that we might never see it released as a single malt whisky.
Once a year it even boots all the conventions you’d expect from a Lowland whisky out the window to create a sweetly peated malt, and to everyone’s surprise, the first commercial bottling of Ailsa Bay takes this form.
Nose: Custard and some phenolic ash, some Big Red too, becoming more chalky and cereal driven with subtle golden syrup. As the producer’s notes state, bacon then emerges.
Palate: Undoubtedly meaty ‘n’ peaty. More of that chalky cereal (dry muesli?) and golden syrup with Big Red in support.
Finish: Sweet, smoky and drying. More Big Red with vanilla.
Overall: The Big Red (spicy cinnamon sweets) are an ever-present but never threaten to dominate this sweet peaty treat.