Blackadder Raw Cask is always something special. They are always nonfiltered and bottled at cask strength. On top of that, there are also some sediments of the cask inside bottle. What I also love, is that they usually choose very good and special hogsheads for bottling – so these are very often (if not always?) single casks. Oily and smoky, what is a better way to start tasting this one? Blackadder recommends adding some water drops into this dram, which I must test a bit later.
First, about the bottle. This is a mystery dram again. Blackadder does not reveal what distillery is used when making Smoking Islay. They don’t state the age either. Just that it is very smoky and very peaty malt dram. This has been bottled July 2013 (Cask BA2013/449, Oak Hogshead) and this is the bottle 133/318. The strength is pleasantly just under 60 (59.9%).
The Nose is raw and filled with alcohol. Strong alcohol. Once, or if, you get past that you will find there a peat burning. Smoky and peaty defines this very well. I don’t expect very complicated world here, but instead something that does it’s business really good.
The taste takes me far away. There is a immense smokiness present immediately! It is a coal burning in a mouth, smoking and smoldering. Peatfire is strong and everywhere. For me, this is a delightful experience! Take a second small sip, let your mouth water it down and there is sweetness with the taste. Pepper, very much oil and lots of smoke. The oil carried the smoke and peat along the mouth, making this one a strong, powerful and a efficient dram! The taste is amazing, if you like this kind of dragon’s breath! There are no place for pixies or elves here, this is a dram drank by ancient beasts and wild sorcerers.
Just to experiment, let’s add a few drops of water to the remaining portion. The beast withdraws, but there is still a powerful army on the battlefield. But I must admit, I think the added water brings out more rangers and scouts to the open. It shows the diversity of the invading army, making it more complex and less scary in the process. In the end, you can hear the bards play flutes and sing about the victory.
Which one I do prefer? It really depends. I do love the kick, smoke and savageness the raw, non-watered, version produces. However, to get more out of this, water should be added.
This is an experience. An adventure. This is about confronting the huge dragon, and surviving to bolster about it! I dare you to try it.