To share some love about their Wood Makes the Whisky programme, Gordon & MacPhail sends us regular packages with samples to try. Whenever a Caol Ila is shipped with these packages we get happy about it, and draw straws who gets to taste it first. I drew the short straw, but at the same time, Ansgar left a rather fair amount in the wee bottle, and I get to taste it now…
57.3% abv, €55
Nose: a nice smoky layer of a well smoked and cured bacon covering a subtly sweet, but slightly briny stick of liquorice root, mixed with ripe cherries. Suddenly, the smell of a warm ironing board reaches my nose – funky.
Palate: more liquorice root sweetness over a spicy cinnamon and black peppercorn core, with a hint of cardamom lurking in the shadows. Creamy vanilla custard with cherries and… mushrooms.
Finish: a long lasting, prickling sensation of a smoked, sweet, long chewed on stick of liquorice root, dipped in cherry jam…
Conclusion: brings tears to my eyes. Strong stuff, this! Next time, first have a look at % on the label before having a big sip of a randomly picked sample off of the pile.
Strong, but good stuff. A Caol Ila whisky at an independent bottler is not hard to find. If you find yourself in front of a shelve in a random whisky shop, you can easily close your eyes, grab a bottle and find out you have selected another Caol Ila to add to your selection. When coming to the conclusion you have grabbed this particular specimen distilled in February 2005 and bottled on the 20th of July 2016 from a series of four first fill ex-Sherry casks, you are in for a treat.