Xyauyù Fumé (Islay Whisky)
Birra Baladin

Xyauyù Fumé (Islay Whisky)Xyauyù Fumé (Islay Whisky)
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Birra Baladin
English Barleywine
Ranked #26
Ranked #1,059
4.38 | pDev: 8.45%
Oct 13, 2023
Jan 17, 2013
2012, the Xyauyù aging experience reaches a new level with the arrival of Scottish barrels used to age great Scottish whiskies. Their distinctive peculiarity is the presence of peaty notes.

The name for this beer is not new. Xyauyù Fumè was originally produced with Lapsang Souchong, a Chinese tea which also has smoky aromas. Apparently, Teo does have his favorite whisky, but if you want to know which one it is, you’ll have to come to Piozzo and ask him.
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Photo of DIM
Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

4.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
The presentation here is gorgeous. The bottle with a minimalist grey label comes packed securely in a sturdy black wooden box. Since the beer is still it is sealed with a cork like a bottle of wine. The package includes an extra cap for resealing since this bottle is meant to be enjoyed over time. Looking forward to revisiting this often in the cooler months.

Based on my experience with regular Xyauyu and what aging it in cedar kioke barrels did, I have a very clear idea in my mind's mouth what this will taste like. I'm sure the Scotch barrels will work extremely well.

Oh yeah, this is what I hoped it would be. Many of the sweet elements from the base beer shine through. I get caramel, marshmallow, vinous fruit, sugary crackers and more. As some of the sweetness subsides, a subtle, salty soy emerges. There is smokey wood at the finish and the ending exhale is almost pure smoke. Just a phenomenal beer experience, thank you so much Frank.

Edit on 11/13/2023
Having a third pour from the bottle exactly one month after opening and there is no drop off whatsoever. Just as magnificent today.
Oct 13, 2023
Photo of kitch
Reviewed by kitch from Hong Kong

4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
A 500ml waxed and corked bottle, 2014 vintage, bottle #1762. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: A copper bronze colour, almost syrupy with no head and no lacing.

Aroma: Peat, leather, dark fruit, whisky.

Taste: Moderately sweet, dark fruit, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, light peat, and smoky notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, a touch syrupy, and no carbonation.

Overall: An excellent sipper with good balanced sweetness. Admittedly, there was a worry on my part that this would be overly sweet like the Xyauyù Barrel, but no, it was really enjoyable.
Jan 30, 2023
Rated: 4.56 by arzt from Germany

Jun 15, 2021
Photo of JLK7299
Reviewed by JLK7299 from North Carolina

4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Picked this up off a recommendation from a friend. Was on the shelf at OEC. Saved it for NYE. Very good. I love smoke but I think it was a little overdone in that regard. Very good though.
Jan 01, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by DvdP from Netherlands

Oct 24, 2020
Rated: 4.35 by Duffman79 from Connecticut

Sep 15, 2020
Photo of Damian
Reviewed by Damian from Massachusetts

4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Drank from a 1 pint 0.9 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Ball Square Fine Wines & Spirits, Somerville, MA
Brewed in 2010
Served in a teku

The beer poured a completely flat and slightly hazed, dark caramel color. A small cap of light tan bubbles coated the liquid, but it was short lived. No lacing whatsoever. Tiny sediment particles coated the glass after each sip.

The aroma was quite peaty and smoky but not as punchy or as complex as I anticipated. Scotch barrel notes were most apparent. Moderately sweet with a subtle caramel-like quality too. Hint of tobacco. Bit of oxidation as well. Aged port came to mind.

The flavor profile was similar to the aroma but somewhat more interesting. Nice peaty, smoky quality on the front end. The smokiness was balanced by a sweet, fruity oxidized note. Dark fruits were apparent. Raisins, dried figs and prunes came to mind. Subtle vanilla notes appeared on the back end, along with some caramel-like sweetness. The oxidation intensified here as well. Woody barrel notes appeared on the finish.

Nice creamy mouthfeel. Medium in viscosity and somewhat syrupy. This definitely exhibited the texture of an aged port as well.

I have tried a number of the Xyauyù beers over the years, and have been a huge fan of each of them. This Fumè variant, however, was somewhat disappointing. While the peaty quality was neither too subtle nor too intense, it definitely masked the fruity, oxidative notes that were so prevalent in the others. I am curious as to how this nearly ten-year old bottle drank when it was younger.
Sep 22, 2019
Photo of DefenCorps
Reviewed by DefenCorps from Oregon

4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Bottle, 2008 vintage that I picked up at Belmont Station 6or so years back.

A still dark caramel with no head or lacing, this beer has nice legs. The nose is sweet, smoky with dark caramel, dark brown sugar, peat, honey, nocino, a bit of burning bog, almond skin, walnut skin, a touch of raisin... This is endlessly complex and deep. The palate opens sweet and smoky with a strong peat character, along with bits of burning plastic, tempered tastefully by the strong sweetness. Layers of fruit, sweetness and smoke are present with a light floral note lifting the weighty smoke. Nutty, spicy, this is delicious. Toffee, a little bit of raisin, a touch of orange liqueur are present.
Full in body and with a long finish that integrates the smoke and the sweetness perfectly, this is marvelous. Clearly boozy but delicately warming rather that harshly burning. This balance is particularly impressive given the strong smoke character present too. Exceptional.
Sep 07, 2019
Photo of oberon
Reviewed by oberon from North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Insanely priced but it's a true gem,sweet but so smooth and velvety,smoky and deeply fruity with roasted nuts and a hint of peat.An incredible joy to drink....Outside of getting the bottle opened.
Jun 02, 2019
Rated: 4.36 by BeerForMuscle from New Jersey

Apr 16, 2019
Rated: 4.45 by Daniellobo from District of Columbia

Jan 14, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by BdM from Netherlands

Apr 11, 2018
Photo of stevoj
Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.74/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Bottle from Darrell. 2006 vintage. Big and boozy, plenty of heat. Sweet, but the heat is what all this about. Nice velvety texture, sweet finish. Ages well.
Apr 01, 2018
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
Reviewed by DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Had this at some bar in Philly; it was listed under "spirits"... 3oz for $9 or 6oz for $13.

Insane right off, brutal aromas of delicate peatiness, chocolate, hazelnuts, Ferrero Rocher and heavenly skies.

Drinks smooth and easy like milk chocolate, no trace of 14%. Still but full, beautiful, round and complete.

Of all the fancy expensive Baladin barleywines I have had, this is by far the best one.

And so this is, right now,the best beer I have ever had.
Mar 01, 2018
Rated: 4.4 by liamt07 from Canada (ON)

Aug 25, 2017
Rated: 4.31 by Doomcifer from Rhode Island

May 29, 2017
Rated: 4.22 by Texasfan549 from Texas

Feb 24, 2017
Photo of NeroFiddled
Reviewed by NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Birrificio Le Baladin "Xyauyù Fumé (Islay Whisky)"
on tap @ Bir & Fud, Roma, Italy
5€ / 5 cl glass

Notes: Listed at 13.5% ABV. Little head. Clear dark copper/russet brown. The alcohol is clear in the nose alongside notes of Sherry, caramel, Demerera/brown sugar/molasses, and wood/oak. The flavor is soft, sweet, sugary with caramel of all sorts, and subtle red & dark fruits. The alcohol remains clear, and along with the wood it dries the finish as there's little bitterness. There are suggestions of Scotch whiskey in the finish, but not the sea, salt, and peat of an Islay version. Dextrinous and medium-full in the body. Very little carbonation. Thumbs up.
Jan 25, 2017
Rated: 4.39 by kjkinsey from Texas

May 15, 2016
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Reviewed by Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.59/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Riserva Teo Musso "Xyauyù Fumé" Birra Da Divano.

BOTTLE: 500ml. Comes packaged in a cardboard tube redolent of whisk(e)y packaging. Brown glass. 2011. A black wax cap covers the cork. Its removal yields the softest carbonation "plop" of all time. "Lotto L063/140." Cost was a wallet-shattering 28.50 euro at a bottle shop in Turin, Italy. Still a better price than I've ever seen stateside (if you can even find this Xyauyu variant there).

Expectations are high seeing as this is currently one of both Beeradvocate and Ratebeer's Best Beers from Italy (#5 and #2, respectively). Reviewed live as an islay whisky barrel aged barleywine per Baladin's website (though the label makes no mention of a style aside from "top-fermented beer." Served chilled into stemware.

Alcohol content: 14%
Sugar density of the wort: Plato degrees 36
Color: EBC 40
Bitterness units: IBU 13
Serving temperature: 12/14°C

Laphroaig or Caoli Ila barrels are not indicated, but my understanding is that this is barrel aged in one of the two. Spends 12 months in barrels per Baladin's website.

Paired with chocolate as recommended by Baladin.

HEAD: None. No lacing. Shares the same gorgeous brandy-like legs of Xyauyu Barrel when the glass is tilted.

BODY: Not as tawny as Xyauyu Barrel; more of an orange-amber. Translucent and somewhat transparent. Clean; devoid of visible lees, yeast or sediment.

Like other Xyauyu offerings, this definitely has more of a liqueur-like look than a beer appearance. I appreciate it for what it is, but if we're judging it strictly as a barleywine, it's not a great appearance overall.

AROMA: I really search and dig deep trying to find the Islay whisky, and all I come up with is some faint muted peat - and it's so faint, I doubt anyone would find it in a blind tasting. Hardly the smokey peaty aroma you'd associate with Islay distilleries' whisky. I don't find any wood either. This is consistent with the aroma of Xyauyu Barrel, in which rum wasn't noticeable hardly at all - but at least Xyauyu Barrel offered some sugarcane.

More wine-like than whisky-redolent, with notes of Madeira wine and sherry - both of which are much less expressive than they are in their Xyauyu Barrel counterpart; maybe rum accentuates grape more than whisky? Faint plum, faint prune, maybe some gooey marmalade...I'm surprised at the reticence of these fruit notes, especially since they're so much more vivid and distinctive in Xyauyu Barrel.

Malts take a backseat to the liqueur-like fruity character, making this less a beer and more a liqueur in my view. While it does offer a blip of marshmallow, in terms of the style there's little here that's appropriate...no toffee, rich caramel, oxidation, graham cracker, rich maltiness, et al.

Aromatic intensity is actually mild. I find this less boozy than Xyauyu Barrel...actually, the alcohol presence is quite well hidden.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Gooey and jammy, with a liqueur like thickness and alcohol warmth. Unlike Xyauyu barrel, this isn't overtly boozy; the alcohol warmth is a nice underscore to the subtle fruit notes. Speaking of which, I'm getting gooey notes of orange marmalade, apricot, plum, white dates, maybe prune...it's not as "dark" in its fruit character as, say, a quadrupel, but it's got a lot of fruity complexity and the jamminess and thickness of the mouthfeel accentuates that well.

Oily and slick on the palate, but not sticky or syrupy per se (thick though it is). Coating, smooth, wet. Warming and somewhat filling, but not heavy or overbearing. Definitely full-bodied; it's not a beer I could drink one bottle of in a single sitting. Carbonation is low as can be, which plays into the barley liqueur vibe aptly.

Where is the whisky? There's a kiss of peat in the body, but none on the open or finish...hardly the expressive peaty smokey Islay whisky character I hoped for. Okay, I didn't expect a Bruichladdich level of peat, but even Laphroaig barrels should offer far more than this does. No whisk(e)y spiciness, no oak barrel, not even any general wood flavour.

What it does offer is a subtle Madeira wine and sherry wine character which suits the gooey fruitiness nicely. It's a balanced beer, and an enjoyable one. Okay, Xyauyu Barrel is more intricate in its build, but this, perhaps, is more harmonious. I quite like it.

OVERALL: Its disappointing lack of the Islay character it's billed to showcase holds it back, but I find it a less boozy, more balanced (if more shallow) offering than Xyauyu Barrel. Not much of a barleywine, but then it really isn't trying to be; that designation seems more for marketing than anything else. I'd love to see Baladin throw Xyauyu into some Port Charlotte or Octomore barrels and really commit to peat and smoke; this could easily be world class if properly executed. More drinkable than Xyauyu Barrel even if it's still more a liqueur than a beer, and easily comparable to Boston Beer Co.'s Utopias - and I think that says it all.

B (3.59) / GOOD
Apr 17, 2016
Xyauyù Fumé (Islay Whisky) from Birra Baladin
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 66 ratings