Bought: ASDA, 20th March 2015
I first added ASDA’s ‘Extra Special Islay Malt’ to my wishlist back in 2013 when it was sold as a 12-year-old. The Whisky Bible 2013 rated it as 91/100, which classified it as ‘brilliant’. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a bottle because I wasn’t overly excited about Islay malts back then. I made a list of the best supermarket blends and single malts according to the Whisky Bible 2013. The ASDA Islay 12yo was no.7 of 21, and the only ASDA whisky to get over 80/100.
Jump forward to 2015 and I’m a big Islay fan, especially the Ardbeg 10yo. Unfortunately, it costs over £40 a bottle, so it’s an expensive whisky to have as a regular sipper. What I needed was a good but inexpensive Islay malt to space out samples of the Ardbeg, and slow down its consumption. My thoughts returned to my supermarket list.
ASDA’s ‘Extra Special Islay Malt’ is half the price of the Ardbeg 10yo but certainly not half the quality. It’s the same price as it was in 2013 (£20.50) but it’s been reduced from a 12yo to a NAS (non aged statement). Sadly, Jim Murray hasn’t included it in his Whisky Bible since 2013 so you’re stuck with my opinion (sorry!). In general I find it very pleasant, albeit a bit rough around the edges. The marketing literature describes the taste as “light” but it has enough body to be satisfying. All-in-all I like it but I haven’t a clue which Islay distillery it could be from. As always with a supermarket whisky, this remains a mystery.