Islay Whisky Cask
Matured 3 Years | 73% | $ 375 USD
|Appellation||Piedra de Plata|
|Aging||Islay Whisky Cask matured, 3 years|
|Ingredients||Cacao beans, cane sugar|
|Release date||November 2018|
|Strength||73% cacao beans|
|Fermentation||4 days in Spanish Elm|
NOSE: Lightly peated, sea air with soft flowers.
PALATE: Caramelized fruit, honey, touch of peat smoke, savory sea grass.
FINISH: Smooth and seductively unorthodox.
To’ak’s co-founders are unabashed devotees of whisky—especially the peaty single malts of Islay (pronounced “eye-luh”). Islay is a small island off the coast of Scotland and is considered home to the world’s most charismatic whisky. In the words of the Master of Malt, “Islay whiskies are among Scotland’s most powerful, thunderous drams. Often with plenty of peat and smoke, brine and medicinal flavours…of all the whisky regions of Scotland, Islay has attained a truly iconic status.”
After much effort, we were fortunate to source a barrel from Laphroaig, which is one of our all-time favorite distilleries. With 200 years of history on Islay, Laphroaig is famous among whisky connoisseurs for being on the far edge of the peaty spectrum, and it is rightfully celebrated for its highly distinctive flavor.
When the New York Times assembled a tasting panel of top food and restaurant critics for a blind tasting contest of 20 different single malt whiskies from Islay, Laphroaig 10 Year was crowned the winner. Eric Asimov, who served as one of the judges on the panel, wrote, “It was one of the smokiest of the group yet one of the subtlest and most complex as well, with all of the rich medicinal, waxy, savory and saline flavors that people associate with Islay, but with an underlying sweetness.” Famously, Laphroaig is also Prince Charles’s favorite whisky. He awarded the distillery his Royal Warrant in 1994.
The source of the much-desired smokiness in Laphroaig and other Islay single malts is peat, which is decomposed organic plant matter that has been compressed in the ground for thousands of years. Peat is more plentiful than wood in Islay, and so this is what people burned for heat during previous centuries. In whisky production, peat burned underneath the malted barley to stop germination. Smoke from the burned peat makes its way into the grain and remains impregnated in the whisky.
Another hallmark feature of Islay single malts is salinity. As the Master of Malt writes, Islay is also known for “seaweedy, kelp-rich whiskies. This is often attributed to the terroir. The Islay distilleries possess a relative close proximity with the sea. The sea spray is said to whip across the warehouses, the salty air penetrates the barrels and flavours the maturing whisky.”
The unique flavor characteristics from land and sea in Islay have lent themselves to our chocolate in a surprisingly seductive way. Prior to insertion into the Laphroaig cask, our Rain Harvest 2015 “Light” edition (73% cacao) was considered To’ak’s softest and most subtle expression of dark chocolate, characterized by smooth caramel and delicate fruit notes. After its multi-year residence in the Laphroaig cask, a new chocolate has emerged. It is our most critically-acclaimed edition thus far.
OUR TOP PAIRING RECOMMENDATIONS
Dark chocolate, when tasted on its own, offers a fascinating ride of sensory impressions. Pairing dark chocolate with certain wines and spirits or cheeses can offer yet another level of pleasure and complexity to the experience. In the best of cases, a perfect pairing can elevate dark chocolate onto a higher realm altogether.