Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Smokin' Good Deal: Smokey Joe Islay Malt

After my disappointment with the Ardbog yesterday, I thought I would taste some nicely peated alternatives for the rest of the week.

Good, affordable Scotch is hard to find, especially of the peated variety.  Each year, it seems that prices get higher while quality gets lower.  Ten years ago Lagavulin 16 was $40, now it ranges from $60 to $80...and it was better ten years ago.  Ardbeg, once the benchmark for great peated whiskey, is fast becoming the poster child for the disappointing gimmick.

But there is still good peated whiskey to be found and without breaking the bank.  Here's one for all you peat heads on a budget.

Smokey Joe is a vatting of Islay single malts produced by Angus Dundee.  It has no age statement but does state that it is not chill filtered.  In the US, it's available at the Total Wine chain for $35.

Smokey Joe Islay Malt, 46% ($35)

The nose has a sweet, syrupy peat to it.  The palate has ashy peat notes with a sweet background.  It's somewhat perfumy but not in an overwhelming or offensive way.  It's got a very nice peaty finish with some subtle wine notes.

This is a very solid peated whiskey that is highly drinkable with a strong finish.  I actually like this a bit better than the Ardbog, and at $35, it's hard to beat the quality to price ratio.


Diving for Pearls said...

At 46%ABV and NCF too. More than can be said for half of the Islay OBs.

Alex said...

Thanks, I'll have to try it.

Another peated malt that is often a good value (although not from Islay) is Ardmore Traditional Cask. 46% ABV, NCF, and can often be found for about $30-$40, although I've seen some retailers price it as high as $50 (which I wouldn't pay for it).

At the prices I'm still seeing for now, the standard Ardbeg 10yr is still a good value, in my opinion.

sku said...

Very good suggestions Alex.

LVWhisky said...

Just tried it, was in the mood for something peaty but didn't want to open something crazy. Spot on with your tasting notes, very thick mouthfeel and lighter peat/ash. It's like peated syrup.