Whisky Review – The Big Strand, Islay Single Malt Whisky, Morrison & Mackay
Here at The Dram Duo we are BIG fans of Islay whisky. There is something particularly special about the coastal peat, that just sings to our souls. So for The Big Strand to be hiding behind door two of our Master of Malt ‘build your own’ advent calendar was very exciting.
A quick side note about this calendar – one half of The Dram Duo purchased it as a birthday gift, and promptly forgot what selection of drams they ended up with! Meaning each day is a surprise for the two of us.
Little information was available about the dram outside of the fact that it is an ‘Islay single malt’ bottled at 46% ABV… so little information to prejudice any tasting.
Morrison and Mackay …
Morrison and Mackay are an independent bottlers with a history that starts in the west of Scotland. Founded in 1982 by the Bartholemew family on the Isle of Mull, it was originally involved in the production of whisky liqueurs. A relatively intense history ensues, which includes the creation of The Scottish Liqueur Center, a management buy-in, the purchase of Whyte and Mackay, establishing the Carn Mor brand, and eventually a name change in 2014!
Tasting Notes …
The Big Strand, Islay, Single Malt – 46% ABV
Bottled by Morrison and Mackay, this particular whisky is from an undisclosed distillery on Islay – do with that information what you will! It’s name can be traced back to the long sandy beach on the west of the isle, called ‘The Big Strand’. An accessible price-point of roughly £35, makes this a competitor with some supermarket whiskies.
Nose: lots of coastal notes, clean, salinity, whisper of smoke, oily undertone, lemon peel, citrus zest
Palate: salty, quite savoury, bonfire smoke, pear drop sweets, fresh and inoffensive
Finish: quite short, some fruit sweetness, earthy mud at the edge of your tongue
This dram reminds us of Autumn evenings around a fire-pit. It is fresh and simple; with not a crazy amount going on. We feel it would be a good introduction to light peat as it’s friendly on your palate.
A quintessential Islay whisky it has to be said. The coastal notes carry through with the citrus fruit and bonfire smoke. The nose and palate are great however the finish is short, had this been longer we probably would’ve rated it higher. The being said this is still a good whisky and for the price it is one we would get a bottle of, certainly one to introduce people into the world of peated whisky.