Islay Storm Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes


This was originally published on May 8, 2018 at Bourbon & Banter.


DISTILLER: Bottled by The Highlands & Islands Scotch Whisky Co, Ltd. The whisky source is rumored to be Bowmore. Product details available via their sister company – The Vintage Malt Whisky Company.

MASH BILL: 100% Malted Barley

AGE: NAS – No Age Statement

YEAR: 2018

PROOF: 80 (40% ABV)

MSRP: $19.99


NOSE: Peat | Vanilla | Pear | Salted Caramel


TASTE: Smoke | Vanilla | Pineapple | Black Pepper


FINISH: Long and creamy, with notes of iodine, vanilla, pepper, and peat.


SHARE WITH: Islay whisky fans. I recommend hiding the bottle behind your bar as you pour; let folks get past any preconceived notions they may have.


WORTH THE PRICE: This is a $19.99 Islay Single Malt, which is more complex than you’d imagine. It is hard to find a palatable Scotch, let alone a Single Malt, at this price. Islay Storm drinks like a much more expensive bottle.


BOTTLE, BAR, OR BUST: Most Single Malt Scotches at this price point are pretty rough. Even my #RespectTheBottomShelf philosophy gives a cautious view of Single Malts from that market. This one will change your mind. It won’t blow you away, but for an Andrew Jackson, this is a hell of a good whisky and earns a Bottle rating.


OVERALL: If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you’ll know that my prior experience with Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon Straight Whiskey left me with a bad taste in my mouth – an awful taste. It tasted so bad that it made me skittish to try other Trader Joe’s exclusives. And, yet, here I am, one year later, embracing the #DrinkCurious lifestyle, ready to risk my palate for the whisky-loving community with Islay Storm Single Malt Scotch Whisky.


I poured this whisky neat in a Glencairn glass. The color was a very enticing golden amber. One thing to remember is that distillers can legally add caramel coloring to Scotch. As such, the color doesn’t connote anything. Swirling it around left a skinny rim that produced slow, thick legs.


Lifting the rim of the glass to my chin brought only an aroma of peat. It wasn't easy to pick up anything beyond that. Raising the rim to lip level toned down the peat and allowed vanilla and a bit of saltiness. Elevating it more to just under my nostrils offered a bit of pear. Inhaling through my mouth brought salted caramel that just made my mouth water.


The mouthfeel was extremely thin, enough so that I worried it was proofed down too much. That first sip gives a strong peat flavor, but you can pick up other flavors once your palate gets beyond the shock. The vanilla from the ex-Bourbon barrels shines through; behind that is a slightly sweet fruitiness of pineapple and peppery spice.


Despite the thin, watery mouthfeel, the finish was quite creamy and lasting. There’s some competition between saltiness and spice. And, while there’s plenty of peat, there’s no burn to speak of, likely attributed to the lower proof.


I went into this Scotch expecting the worst. I’m pleasantly disappointed. Cheers!






My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It