It's a malt whisky - except it ain't, yet. Abhainn Dearg, one of the new breed of craft distlleries (trans: small, hand-made, local), have just released a limited quantity of spirit. Legally, it won't be whisky until late in 2011.
I tasted it at McSorley's, straight from a 30 litre oloroso sherry cask. "Spirit of Lewis" is a complex malt, with an interesting back and forth of flavours. The texture is light and airy - not watery, but airy, like good Condrieu. It is also very like grappa, very spirity, but there is also a big whack of honey and nougat, and a little milk chocolate.
The palate is delicate. There's green leafy, cigar, seashells, and plenty of sweetness. With water it moves from grappa towards a malty whisky character. I couldn't find any peat in it. In conclusion it is a good one (good one = 4+), and already very drinkable, especially compared with other new make spirits I have tried.
I tried to describe it to someone, and they said, "so it's like Jura then", but I think a better comparison, assuming a few years in cask, would be to Abunadh.
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