Sourcing whisky and bottling it under your own brand is very common in Ireland and the United States, but not so much in Scotland. But it is happening more than it has in the past. While I’d personally always prefer to know where my single malt was made — and I assume that’s the case for many others too — these bottlings generally do offer good value for money. The Aerolite Lindsay 10 Years would certainly be a good example.
An anagram of Ten Year Old Islay, this single malt is brought to you by Atom Brands, the same group that also produces That Boutique-y Whisky. When you don’t (or can’t) disclose a whisky’s provenance, you have to come up with another story. In the case of Aerolite Lindsay the accompanying press release at the time spoke of shifting the “focus firmly to the whisky itself.” That’s true in theory, as there is little else to share —unless you go the Ardbeg route and make up stories about pirates or Kelpies.
There’s a problem though. By shifting the focus on the whisky, I would expect to be able to learn things about barley variety, yeast, fermentation time and much more. Instead, all we know is the whisky matured in 70% ex-Bourbon barrels, 25% ex-Sherry Spanish oak quarter casks and 5% ‘mystery’ casks.
Aerolite Lindsay 10 Years (46%, TCIWC, 2020)
Nose: A coastal first impression with touches of iodine and nori, but then some sauerkraut and soft vanilla notes as well. A whiff of charcoal and oat cookies, but also peanut skin. Finally some charred lemon peel and capers. Taste: Nice oily mouthfeel. Plenty of sweet barley, smoked husks and bright lemon zest, but also a touch of tar, brine and ashes. A touch of honey as well. Finish: Medium in length and somewhat drying. Ashy too.
Firstly, this is good Islay whisky. Secondly, it’s not exactly unique, now is it? I’ve not the most discerned palate when it comes to heavily peated whiskies, but many of them seem to sort of blend together for me. The Aerolite Lyndsay falls in that category too.