It’s nice to try new things, my grandmother always told me. Now, while she may have been referring to me getting what may could be termed a “proper job”, I took the time last night to listen to her advice and picked a Scotch whisky I have seen often, but always pushed to one side in favour of other bottlings. I don’t know what, maybe it’s the older style of labelling, maybe it’s the somewhat dull colours, maybe it’s simply because no one referred it to me, or no one I was around could pronounce the name. I am still kicking myself that I haven’t tried this sooner.
Poit Dhubh (pronounced “Potch Ghoo”) comes to us from the Gaelic Whisky Company, Pràban na Linne (a smugglers den by the Sound of Sleat), and is a blended malt whose headquarters are located on the Isle of Skye. Nestled in the wee village of Eilean Iarmain where Gaelic is still frequently spoken (an interesting language by the way, something any whisky drinker should look into), the name means Illicit Still in the native Gaelic tongue, and celebrates the history of the whisky distilled long ago in and around the area. All the whiskies inside are Single Malt in origin, with a mixture of ex-bourbon and damn fine ex-sherry being unmistakable in the blend. Established in 1976 by Sir Iain Noble, Pràban na Linne aims to provide traditional whisky for the Gaelic Isles of Scotland. To keep up with this, the distilleries whose makes go into the blend are kept secret, and the whisky is un-chill filtered, like was drunk in the old days. While alot of people are non-chill filtering, a whisky such as this feels as though it would lose more than the average whisky.
Phwoar, this nose is large and impressive. Starting with tendrils of cherry tree wood smoke, slow hands and smouldering leather and dank, wet wood move around to caress the senses with this whisky, and we find ourselves transported to a wee hut surrounded by ancient forest. Taking a walk, the whisky gives wet wood, forest floor and dew wet grass before we find ourselves in front of a set of cherry and plum trees, the fruits untouched and bending the branches low with their juices. We cut into the roots of these trees with a spade and the tree sap engulfed us in a rush, taking us back to the hut where we enjoyed some toast slathered with strawberry and blackberry jam. Slowly, the wet peat fire spread through our nose, and we fell asleep into a dank dark dream. My mouth would not stop watering.
Oh it is wet on the palate, full of juices and fresh creek runs. Kiwi fruit, passionfruit, guava, marmalade all run through the stream before tumbling down onto a mossy rock bed, before we are greeted by honey and cream. the mouthfeel is buttery, delectably smooth. The peat in the whisky comes out more on the palate as well, with the blending of Islay and Speyside malt making for a smoke of lightly roasting fruits, smoke from juice soaked tobacco and a light medicine quality reminiscent of blackcurrant throat lozenges. The finish is long, starting with blackberry jam, before moving into lime, cantaloupe, fried coconut, and a finishing spritz of white pepper.
Now there is blending done right. The Poit Dhubh 21, my oh my what a whisky. The blending of different regions showcases a variety of flavours, those flavours show themselves to the best extent possible, and the whisky feels content in itself and what it has to offer. Here is a dram that can pull the wool from your eyes and show you a menagerie of flavours you never thought a peated blend could offer. The rain has just started here in Dublin by the way, so I am off to the pub for another dram I can fall asleep and smiling in.