Scarabus Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky HL

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Hunter Laing (HL)
46.0 % Vol.
700 ml 700 ml 750 ml 1000 ml
Bottle code
LCM19 266
Bottled for
Fèis Ìle 2019
Added on
24 May 2019 3:43 pm by holborndrinker

Average value

€ 35.28

29 × in wishlist

442 × member ratings

1280 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Scarabus Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky HL

52 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 83.24 points

  1. markjedi1 scored this whisky 85 points Connoisseur

    Ship’s Ropes
    Hunter Laing & Co, the company that runs the new Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay, jumped on the Feis Ile bandwagon in 2019 with the release of this single malt dubbed Scarabus. I’ll have you know there is a Scarrabus (with double ‘r’) Farm very close to Bridgend. Writings show that there was even a pot still there between 1817 and 1818, but apparently it was never operational. This still does not offer us any clue as to the contents of this bottle. But we can all agree, I’m sure, that the bottle looks stunning.

    The peat immediately rears its head in the guise of a bonfire on the beach, but is quickly and easily overcome by some citrus fruit and a truckload of caramel. Feels somewhat young, but it does not bother. The second whiff offers freshly polished leather and some plasticine. There is even a candy-like quality to it and in my opinion it works well. This is a very nice Islay nose.

    Yummie in the tummy! A touch salty, a bit sweet, lots of salted caramel and candied oranges. This is supported by a big smokiness with black pepper and some nutmeg. Greasy ship’s ropes and leather kick in, while a drop of balsamico joins to soften things up a bit.

    The finish is good. The malt softens further, the fire and spices fade and the oranges return again.

    Lovely Ileach. A young sherried Lagavulin if you ask me, but I could not get this confirmed anywhere. If you consider the fact that you can buy it for 35 to 45 EUR, then you know this is bang for your buck. Thanks, Manny! I’m getting me another bottle of this.

  2. hs305 scored this whisky 78 points Connoisseur

    [January, 2021] A quick review of a sample with very low expectations...

    ...which are fully met, sadly. This is a bottling the world does not need and I prefer most (even simple) blends over this stuff. It is raw, harsh and immature without any interesting aromas or flavours. It provides a drinking pleasure for the spittoon, only. Come on Hunter Laing, you can do better than this!

    Just a word to all who like this bottling: I acknowledge that many modern drinkers prefer such immature but strong flavour spikes and just do not care about complexity, balance or "traditional" whisky flavours. This is absolutely okay, the same it is okay if someone prefers Gin, Vodka or Schnapps. But I reject to call immature spirits "Single Malt Scotch Whisky" knowing that legally it is - to me these words simply own a different meaning (in terms of quality), sorry folks. (By the way, there might be significant quality differences of the different batches of such releases, too.)
    • Nose
      80 80
      The colour is jonquiripe corn and the nose offers an immature profile of young peated spirits, I guess most of them are less than five years old (I had a lot of such cask samples before so I know what I am talking about). To be honest, there is nothing of interest in here and my olfactory cells cry out: "Skip nosing, please!"
    • Taste
      78 78
      The taste is about the same with an immature peat-driven profile without any significant malt flavours (beside simple sugars). Despite its youth the wooden notes are quite strong already, obviously they used a significant share of virgin oak casks in this batch. I detect just sugared alcohol, peat and wood - so if you like your whisky without any whisky flavours this dram is for you. But why should I pay that much money for such a drink?
    • Finish
      75 75
      The dram arrives warming but not coating on the palate with bitter-astringent moments of virgin oak. The finish is short and turns even more to the bitter peaty-wooden side which is no surprise at all. Water releases more immature bready-mashy aromas in the nose (no, these are no whisky aromas because they smell like a spirit younger than three years and according to Scottish law such spirits are not allowed to be called whisky). Same on the palate. Do not get me wrong: Of course this is drinkable, but why should I?

  3. ARDBERG scored this whisky 77 points Connoisseur

    almost virgin oaky, spicy, dry, not very pleasant and relatively ugly aftertaste (old socks?).

    superior design, inferior whisky. not sure this will serve as a flagship or bridge up to the first whisky. but the ardnahoe can only be better than this and the laings should have done better, or are the stocks that low?

    safe your money.
    • Nose
      81 81
    • Taste
      79 79
    • Finish
      72 72

  4. xandi37einhalb scored this whisky 85 points Expert Junior

    From my personal point of view, this dram has an excellent price-performance ratio.

    Color: light golden yellow
    • Nose
      Smoke, pineapple, beef soup, honey, gum
    • Taste
      Marshmallows, smoke, pineapple, malt, cocoa, gum
    • Finish
      Malt, smoke, pineapple, burnt sugar, medium length

  5. TsiAI scored this whisky 84 points Expert Senior

    Room temperature when drinking: 16 ℃

    No coloring, non-condensing filtration

    Viewing Eyes: Gold

    Smell Nose: slightly burnt bacon, broth, rich in fat, sterilized water, familiar mint cooling, yeast and sweat, milk, sweet orange, orange, sashimi and shellfish, salty sea breeze, Wujiang mustard

    Taste Palate: matches, sweet and sour lemon candy, orange fudge, oranges, lemon peel, salty sea fish, sea water, burnt wood, disinfection water, familiar lime, rocks, baking soda

    Finish: Finish, long, canned syrup, earth, herbs, vanilla, sweet milk, obvious sweetness, yellow rock sugar, light smoked salmon, ashes, tobacco

    Body: Medium, medium-greasy, smooth, bitter, no tannins

    Nose: 84.5 / 100

    Palate: 85/100

    Finish: 84/100

    Body: 85/100

    Overall: 84.5 / 100

  6. PhilDrambuster scored this whisky 86 points Newbie

    Superb value for a well made and matured young, peated, Islay single malt. Brimming with sweet peat reek and sweet lingering fruits.
    Has anyone considered that it is one distillery's new make spirit matured in a different Islay distillery's used cask? I'm sure that happens a lot, to reduce the costs of transportation on the CalMac ferry. I am most impressed by this Hunter Laing offering, I enjoy the mystery, and would bet that due to its very reasonable price that it is a Caol Ila whisky matured in a Lagavulin cask..

    (Scarrabus is a farm in the centre north part of Islay. There is a standing stone nearby. The suffix "-bus" means farm)

  7. robbert88 did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    Color: dark gold
    • Nose
      Nose: soft smoke, a young whisky, wood, earthy. Some sweetness and maybe even a little bit of sherry.
    • Taste
      Palette: medicinal, pepper, sharp, red fruit, apples, dry mouth feeling, liquorice, floral, leather, ash-like, maritime and salted caramel.
    • Finish
      The aftertaste is dry but definitely greasy later on. Little cashew flavor accompanied by ash and smoke.

  8. valasios scored this whisky 89 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      89 89
    • Taste
      89 89
    • Finish
      88 88

  9. Dre73 scored this whisky 84 points Connoisseur

    Pretty good whisky actually, not too heavily peated, a lot of room for some sweet and fruity elements as well.
    • Nose
      84 84
      At first a lot of peat, rubber and fake leather, like a 'Scapino' experience. Caramel with a bonfire smoke-twist, then some real fresh citrus fruitiness comes in.
    • Taste
      84 84
      A lot of sal-ammoniac initially, some pepper, spicy, cinnamon as well, pretty strong. Some smoke, peat, fakeleather, caramel, licorice, orange as well.
    • Finish
      83 83
      Now it gets a lot smoother, bonfire smoke, licorice, still some orange, honry. Middle long finish, spicy as well.

  10. Kantenmechaniker scored this whisky 80 points Connoisseur

    Loses significantly against the Islay Journey on the same house, unfortunately too sprightly and out of round
    • Nose
      rather closed, ripe floury apple, very light smoke, light spiciness, vanilla, generally rather dry, some malt, looks quite young, somewhat alcoholic and unfortunately also rather thin, there was the Islay Journey another house number with the same alcohol strength
    • Taste
      creamy, sweet, fruity, vanilla, even here little smoke, the youth tastes, probably through the lack of smoke still clearly through, metallic, the fruit is also quite neat, ripe apples, mirabelle,
    • Finish
      behind smoke more, drier, fruit bowl, slightly numb mouthfeel, a breeze of cinnamon, vanilla


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