The Southeast Asia region is a hotbed for independent bottlers releasing high-end whiskies. Not many of those ever make it to my tasting table, but thanks to Ruben today’s Islay Distillery 1990 30 Years from Nanyan Whisky is a pleasant exception.
Nanyang Whisky is a Singapore-based independent bottling company founded by a group of whisky enthusiasts. Last year they presented their so-called Peninsula Collection, a trio of whiskies that also included a 22-year-old Secret Orkney and a 23-year-old Ben Nevis. Why Peninsula Collection? The term Nanyang was once used by the Chinese diaspora to refer to the peninsula stretching from Yunnan in China tot Singapore in the far South.
Originally a retailer, Nanyang Whisky has been importing independent bottlings from the likes of Archives, The Whisky Jury and The Duchess. They’ve also collaborated on a few bottlings with their partners before graduating to their own independent label.
From what I’ve read, Nanyang Whisky are not actively marketing to a luxury crowd, instead releasing bottles intended for drinking. That’s absolutely laudable, but there’s a caveat. The whiskies they’ve released so far are certainly not attainable for most. For example, the Islay Distillery 1990 30 Years cost around 400 euros at the time of release. In line with market prices, but certainly not a whisky for the masses either.
Islay Distillery 1990 30 Years (51.3%, Nanyang Whisky, C#NYWLP01)
Nose: After three decades the peat has been elevated into a waxy, saline smoke. There are oysters, seaweed and wet wool, as well as a touch of hemp rope. Very gentle with an elegant fruitiness. Whiffs of jammy apricots, nectarines and tinned pineapple, as well as a sliver of golden syrup and furniture polish. Really, truly good. Taste: Velvety, but smokier with a hint of ashes, charcoal and tar. That’s quickly followed by a good amount of lemon zest, Granny Smith apples, chalk and a sliver of papaya. A lovely salty quality too, as well as a hint of rum-soaked raisins. Finish: Medium to long. Gentle mineral touches accompanied by elegant peat smoke and citrus fruits.
Coastal, elegant and delicate, but with a little more oomph on the palate than one might expect. For me, I wouldn't mind an even more delicate version, but in lieu of that, this undisclosed Islay single malt from Nanyang Whisky will more than suffice.