Whisky Fun Review
Angus : I’ve not been a huge fan of these ‘unpeated’ Caol Ilas so far. But at 18 years of age, let’s see... Colour: Light gold. Nose: There is a richness at first which comes across as quite surprisingly buttery and fulsome with a nervous coastal edge creeping in behind it. I’m always amazed at how these bottlings can still ‘feel’ very much like Caol Ila even without the usual heft of medicine. This one becomes green, lively and gravely with a tempestuous minerality. Some fresh lemon juice, an oyster or two, sea greens and cow sheds in the background lending a nice farmy balance to the muscular coastal side. Still more notes of hay, leather, hessian and coal hearths emerge. I’m really liking this so far. With water: olive oil, an old car engine, cactus flesh, salted fish. Mouth: Cured bacon, pine sap, sandalwood, heather, a carbolic edge and some mercurochrome hinting at a seemingly irrepressible medicinal quality. Notes of turf, Mezcal and preserved lemons in brine with a wood ash note in the background. With water: a teaspoon of soft, green, lemony peat on the tongue along with a eucalyptus lozenge and a sprig of gorse and some dried seaweed. Finish: Long! Full of coastal vigour, lemon oil, shellfish and soft green fruits. There’s a slight tartness as well which keeps things alive and fresh, almost like a good sour beer. I like it a lot! Comments: By far my favourite of these unpeated releases so far. I recall earlier ones being brutally strong. I suspect this one works because of the age, perhaps this style of Caol Ila really needs a decent length of maturation to come into its own. I’m not sure how long Diageo have been making this style but I suspect this at about 25 years of age could be something very special indeed. Here’s hoping... SGP: 554 - 89 points.