Atom Brands, a sister company of retailer Master of Malt, is responsible for many whisky brands that you probably know. In the last year or so, they’ve grabbed attention with their Character of Islay whiskies — undisclosed but mostly affordable single malts.
Darkness Whisky has been around for a little longer. It started out as some sort of independent label for Master of Malt, bottling whiskies from many impressive distilleries such as Ardbeg, Springbank, Clynelish and Bowmore. In recent years the brand has also gone down the undisclosed route, last year releasing an 8-year-old from an unknown Scotch whisky distillery.
Like all other Darkness whiskies it certainly is deserving of the name, as it alludes to the colour of the whiskies bottled in this range. While this 8-year-old single malt first matured in ex-bourbon barrels, a finish in small Oloroso octave casks has ensured it fits the concept.
Darkness 8 Years (47.8%, Master of Malt, 2019)
Nose: Lots of vanilla pods, but also subtle notes of raisin, balsamic, bitter orange peel and a good amount of triple sec. Some soft spices in the background—think cinnamon. Taste: This is were it feels more engineered. The syrupy, sweet, drying influence of the sherry octaves is undeniable. There’s some soft notes of toasted oak and black pepper corns as well. Finish: Notes of orange peel and dark caramel. Medium in length.
Lacks balance between spirit and cask, which is a shame. Then again, a quick octave finish tends to do that. It’s whisky with a little syrupy sweetness floating on top, instead of properly interacting with the previous bourbon matured spirit.