Country: Scotland
Region: Lowlands
Type: Single Malt
Bottler: Distiller
ABV: 48.9%
Score: 94 points

Ailsa Bay Release 1.2. Image courtesy William Grant & Sons.This heavily peated single malt from the William Grant & Sons-owned Ailsa Bay Distillery in Girvan goes through a unique “micro-maturation” process that’s the opposite of “finishing.” In this case, the new make spirit goes into small ex-Hudson Whiskey Baby Bourbon casks for six to nine months to “jump-start” the maturation process before being moved to standard-size barrels for the remainder of maturation.

The nose is smooth and smoky, but not overpowering, with notes of grilled fruits, heather, honey, fresh bacon, Manuka honey, and molasses. The taste is spicy with cinnamon, allspice, and curry powder balanced by toasted caramel, bacon, and honey. The finish is long and well-balanced with honey sweetness and a good smokiness. (November, 2018)