Bought: The Whisky Shop, 26th February 2016
92.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
82.53/100 – Whiskybase (average from 40 member votes)
The Ailsa Bay distillery was built within the Girvan grain complex and opened by the Prince of Wales in 2009. I’m hoping it doesn’t follow the same fate as the Ladyburn distillery, which was also part of the Girvan business but only lasted about 10 years from the 1960s to early 1970s. In 2016 we see this first single malt release from Ailsa Bay at a very agreeable cask strength of 48.9%. Sounds good and looks good too in a very stylish and upright bottle.
When I first found Ailsa Bay on Whiskybase it scored 81.69 from 31 member votes but it’s climbed to 82.53 with 9 more ratings. One scorer, Glennie, scores this whisky 83/100 and summaries with “a nice start from Ailsa Bay. It’s flawless in a way but also without any real distinctive character. It can’t hide its youth, but that’s OK! Very quaffable and perhaps a good place to start for someone not used to peaty whiskies. And yes! I will characterise it as peaty, but not heavily peated by any mean. A few drops of water improve it. It’s too expensive IMHO. But a good one to try in a whisky club for instance.”
Scoring 92.5/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies this new single malt as “brilliant”. The author, Jim Murray, says about the taste “brilliant mix of grist and soot, as the phenols get in early and hard. Predominately dry, exactly as the nose suggest, but just enough molasses to keep the balance honest. ” He summaries with “a resounding success of a first effort, though I’d like to see the finish offer a little more than it currently does. Early days, though.”
It will be interesting to see what future releases from Ailsa Bay will be like but it seems their initial opener is a decent one.
Here’s Ben of ‘A Dram A Day’ with his review on You Tube (April 2016):