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“Under the law of Hong Kong, intoxicating liquor must not be sold or supplied to a minor in the course of business.”
Colour: deep gold. Nose: Surprisingly soft. A beautifully fragrant coastal character of sea salt, lemons in brine and beach pebbles. Sandalwood, heather honey, coal smoke and a lovely mix of beach sand and crushed sea shells. There’s a familiar and syrupy herbal quality that gets increasingly prominent as well. Things like mint syrup, herbal ointments and old style cough mixture sweets. I find it extremely aromatic and fragrant. Wonderfully approachable despite the strength. With water: citronella, hessian and a big dial up on the seashore notes. Seaweed, rock pools, pebbles, chalk, bracken and hospital corridors. More medical aspects such as disinfectant and bandages. Mouth: much bigger on arrival than the nose might suggest. Prickling with seashore freshness, minerals, citrus infused oils, gentle tar liqueur notes, old Benedictine and lapsang souchong. Underneath there’s green tea, dried wildflowers, tangerine, eucalyptus sweets and green olive. With water: perfect! Totally salty, mineral, medical, syrupy and with this wonderful fatness to the peat. You can add black olives, petrol, iodine and this persistent and terrific coastal character. Finish: very long. All on brine, both shares of olive, tar, parsley, ointments, sea salt and smoked shellfish. Comments: We’re not quite in the same ballpark as the early 80s casks which are pleasingly ubiquitous these days. But nor are we quite at the latter 90s style either. Rather, we’re somewhere between the two that’s very much its own style. The sherry aspect was very quiet but the overall impression was of an evocative, punchy, complex, elegant and brilliant Caol Ila. Along with the SMWS Laphroaig it’s my joint favourite of this year’s Feis bottlings.
SGP: 466 - 92 points.