Ailsa Bay 1.2 Sweet Smoke

Scotch Whisky Review #202: Ailsa Bay 1.2 Sweet Smoke

Distillery: Ailsa Bay

Region: Lowland

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/Dyllix

ABV: 48.9%

Age: NAS.

Barrel Type: Micro matured in small Hudson whiskey casks

Color: 1.0, Deep Copper.


Nose: There’s a tinge of something sweet, a tinge of something smoky, a tinge of medicinal peat. After you let it sit for long enough, it smells remarkably similar to the remains of a campfire in the morning after it’s burnt out. There’s a distinct alcoholic note of hand sanitizer as well.

Palate: It’s a bit puzzling, the flavors seem to be neither here nor there. There’s a bit of something slightly peaty and slightly aromatic. A hint of sweet mesquite pops in every so often with a bit of tart citrus (reminded me of yuzu). None of the flavors are greatly defined, everything was a bit muddled.

Finish: Medium to short in length. Hand sanitizer and a bit of aromatic peat.

Conclusion: Ailsa Bay is a massive distillery that opened in 2007 on the same site as Girvan in the Scottish Lowlands. This 1.2 Sweet Smoke is their second distillery release. Ailsa Bay touts their scientific approach to making whisky which they claim helps them make a whisky with “precise balance of sweet and smoky notes”. I was expecting something along the lines of Bunnhabhain’s Toiteach a Dhà to get a lovely bit of smoky and sweetness. Unfortunately, I can’t say I agree. All of the notes throughout this whisky are neither here nor there, it’s as if the whisky can’t make up it’s mind as to what it wants to be. All of the notes are a bit muddled and it lacks a bit of cohesion. It doesn’t help that basically all of the notes are just trace bits of something. The hand sanitizer notes weren’t particularly pleasant either. It’s a bit of a miss for me, though I’d love to see more of what they’ve got coming.

Final Score: 71.

Scotch Whisky Review #202, Lowland Review #7, Whisky Network Review #283


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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