Inchmoan 12 “Smoke & Spice”

Here is another whisky from the distillery that has for some reason decided to mislead people about its history/origins even though they make whisky that can stand on its own merits.

Actually, Loch Lomond makes a number of different styles of whisky. On Monday I reviewed the new Inchmurrin 12 and today I have a review of the new 12 yo version of  Inchmoan aka the whisky with the most unintentionally and comically dirty name in all of Scotland. My understanding is that Inchmoan is essentially peated Inchmurrin, made the same way except with peated malt. Like Inchmurrin, and a few of the other Loch Lomond variants, Inchmoan is named for an island in Loch Lomond—the loch not the distillery. How exactly it differs from Loch Lomond’s other peated whiskies—Inchfad and Croftengea among them—I don’t know but someone else can doubtless tell us. Unlike the Inchmurrin, I don’t believe there’s ever been a regular release of Inchmoan and so this 12 yo—which bears the epithet “Smoke & Spice”—may be a newcomer to the stable. Let’s see what it’s like.

Inchmoan 12 “Smoke & Spice” (46%; from my own bottle)

Nose: Farmy peat off the top (something rotting in a mossy patch by a wet brick wall). Below all that is some lime and passionfruit and some herbal/spicy notes (sage, aniseed); that very Loch Lomond mineral note runs through it all. Gets saltier as it sits, the fruit expands and the smoke gets ashier. A few drops of water push the farmy notes back and bring out more fruit.

Palate: Comes in with ashier smoke here—none of the farmy stuff. The fruit bubbles under it, sweeter than the nose had indicated. Nice texture and bite at full strength. On the second sip there’s quite a bit of pepper as well, along with some of the aniseed from the nose. Sweeter as it goes. Okay, let’s see what water does. It brings out more fruit here too and more acid.

Finish: Long. The fruit expands and melds with the smoke and spice for a rich, mouth-coating finish that goes on for a long time. As on the nose and palate with water.

Comments: Yes, this is pretty much a heavily peated version of the Inchmurrin. The smoke subdues the exuberant fruit of that one but doesn’t fight it. A fairly unique profile of heavily peated whisky (though not terribly different from their own Croftengea) and well worth a look—especially at the very reasonable price. I like it neat but might prefer it with a few drops of water.

Rating: 86 points.



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