Dark Island Reserve - Orkney Brewery
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Ratings: 104 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
4.74/5 rDev +15.3%
Bottled on 15th November 2013.
Pours black with some dark brown hues, low beige head goes away fast and really sticks to the glass.
Smells awesome. Dark roasted malts with milky chocolate, huge caramel, low coffee, lots of vanilla and dark spices, mild dry dark fruit, not very big oaky barrel notes though.
Whiskey pops up in the taste more than in the smell. Roasted malts with coffee and dark chocolate, along with charcoal notes mix nicely with the strong caramel sweetness. Really balanced malt component. The dark fruit (figs, plums, dates) aren't alone, there are red grapes (bringing a mild mustiness), red berries and some faint sour cherries. Typical whiskey barrel aged vanilla spice, along with some mild cinnamon, cocoa powder and faint licorice. Earthy feel mostly, not as barelly as expected, with some oak chips, smoked wood and peat covered up by the roast. Whiskey is felt though, really clear and nice, providing a nice excuse for the warm booze. Hops aren't the star, so they're pretty low in the finish, still helping the roast bitterness a pinch.
Mouthfeel is creamy, buttery, hence a nice butterscotch feel to the whole brew. Finish is really dry and bitter from the charcoal. As it warms up, the sweet elements (the fruitiness, the caramel) start to cover up all the roughness. Aftertaste gets bittersweet, rather than ashy.
Great beer, a perfect "Orcadian Ale" enhanced by the whisky aging. The best from the brewery and personally it surpassed some russian imperials and scotch ales that i usually hold dear.
12-28-2013 13:11:35 | More by dcmchew
4.7/5 rDev +14.4%
Opened this and shared a bottle with my cousins at my grandmothers 80th birthday party over the weekend. I had been super excited to try this one since I got it a few months ago. The Beer poured out black, and thick looking. There was a thin brownish colored head on top that hung around for a good while but since I was sipping this for over an hour but the time I finished it was gone. The smell of this beer is awesome, the aromas of whiskey, wood, apple, cherry, roasted malts and chocolate all spew from the glass into the nose. The taste of this beer is really really nice, the aromas that are on the nose come full force onto the tongue for a really crazy joyride of flavors from start to finish. The apples and cherries come in a little tart up front but the roast malts keep it sweet and then in the aftertaste the chocolate dominates without and doubt. The mouthfeel of this beer has a really nice semi-thick body to it with some light carbonation. Overall this beer is very impressive. Hands down it has to be Orkney's best and I really enjoy Skullsplitter. This one just has so much to offer, it's not cheap by any means but I could see myself having this one again someday.
11-15-2011 05:34:42 | More by Knapp85
4.68/5 rDev +13.9%
Rerate, 750 ml bottle, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 10%. Brewed 23rd Sept. 2008, bottled 10th Dec. 2008. Pitch black colour, moderate brown head. The aroma is still vinous (sherry), oaky and roasty - also notes of chocolate, vanilla, figs and dates, hints of Christmas spices. Full and rich mouthfeel. The flavour has loads of malty sweetness, a moderate roastiness, oaky and vinous notes (sherry and/or port), some chocolate and a hint of liquorice. Moderate hops in the finish. Terrific beer! Original rating: Bottle, at RBESG 2007 in Glasgow, Grand Tasting. ABV was 10%. Pitch black colour, brown head. Lovely vinous, oaky and roasty aroma, some sandalwood too. Perfect! Vinous, roasty and oaky flavour - a wonderful beer!
04-26-2009 20:40:24 | More by Sigmund
4.68/5 rDev +13.9%
Pours pitch black with 1/2" tan bubbly head that leaves a little lace. Smells of sweet roasted malt with a warm scotch overtone - peat and smoke. Taste - YUM! Starts off tasting like a nice mellow scotch with roasted malt, chocolate and a hint of cherry thrown in. It has an aftertaste that is a little sweet but nicely balanced with a little heat, and the peat and smoke shining through. I was immediately impressed by the complexity of flavor, excellent balance, and completely unique flavor. I have never had a beer that tastes like this. Very full bodied, this beer is tipping the Scottish Ale scale toward stout. It has a creamy texture and a slightly alcoholic finish. This is a tough one to classify for drinkability. It is not that it isn't driinkable. On the contrary, I thoroughly enjoyed every sip. It is a slow sipper that is completely unique. On the other hand, it is pretty expensive and very rare, so I will probably never get to taste it again... Buy it if you can find it. Split is with a couple of friends, and expect a very unique experience.
03-29-2008 14:51:18 | More by walshclimb
United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
4.65/5 rDev +13.1%
750ml swing top bottle bought from Peckhams, Edinburgh... aged for about 3 years...
Poured jet black - nothing gets through even when held up to the light. Creamy brown head poured quite thick and fizzy then faded fairly quickly to almost nothing... very faint lacing...
Aroma - Strong roasted malts, chocolate mixed with strong espresso coffee, some blackcurrent/blackberry notes, leathery, woody, liquorice / anise, good vanilla traces, some tar, spicy hops, treacle/burnt sugar, some alcohol traces...
Taste - Strong roasted malt bitterness, smokey notes, vanilla, definite black coffee, creamy dark chocolate, peppery hops, lots of liquorice, some nutty sweetness, molasse and treacle, alcohol warmth just coming through...
Feel - Very smooth and creamy with just a little sharpness after... pretty full bodied...
Overall - An excellent barrel aged brew... highly recommended if you can track it down..
12-23-2011 13:49:06 | More by mdagnew
4.63/5 rDev +12.7%
A: Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights around the edges. A two finger tan head quickly forms, and recedes in a second. Light patchy lace is left behind.
S: Toasted malt, sweet toffee, smoke, peat, and dark fruits. A slighlty tart green apple, and white grape aroma develops as this warms up. Excellent.
T: Similar to the nose. Toastes malt and sweet toffee. Though the smoke and peat seems to be more dominate than in the nose. Dark fruits of plums and rasins. Again, a green apple flavor with some grape skins lingering on. Slightly vinous. This is great.
M/D: A medium body and a little low on the carbonation. Though it is still very creamy and smooth. A real treat to drink. Something that is great to sip on. I wish the bottle would never end.
This is excellent, just like everything else from the brewery. A great combination of smoked peat and fruits. It really melds together well. It becomes more and more vinous and wine like as this warms up. Very unique. Something I highly recommend.
07-14-2010 00:44:01 | More by champ103
4.6/5 rDev +11.9%
Some light lacing coffee opaque brown, some brown highlights.
Smell portends greatness. Faint booze, port, smokiness. Truly magnificent.
Taste does the nose justice. Port, a trace of soy sauce and leather, finishing on plum, black currant, and a trace of spice. This is amazing.
Oily, not too too thick, but pretty thick.
This is a great beer. The price point suggests it and the beer delivers. At the price, I probably wouldn't buy it, but if you have a chance to try it (or go in halvsies), I highly recommend it.
07-28-2012 00:54:46 | More by zaphodchak
4.55/5 rDev +10.7%
I poured the beer into a glass chalice. It was dark. Some light got through, and the color was dark brown. The head was coffee with cream color. I could smell some fruit. The taste started out heavy on fruit and vanilla and oak. I couldn't taste much peat or other flavors I associate with whisky initially. As I worked through the bottle, more roasty and peaty flavors came out. The beer was easy on my mouth, thick and rich. I noticed a warmth from the alcohol instead of a burn.
03-22-2013 00:21:23 | More by deg
4.53/5 rDev +10.2%
When you pour it into a glass, you can see the intense body of it, but it does not give much of a head.
Smells roasty, but with this kind of old unfamiliar smell, maybe a bit oaky.
The taste is powerful, a lot of sweet maltiness, quite a bit booze, some roasty bitterness and a full delicious body to wrap it all inn. Too bad it is a limited edition.
11-08-2011 22:08:34 | More by NilsFrisk
Dark Island Reserve from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.