Cognac color. Golden amber in the glass. JURA and other distilleries try to hit this tone when they "refine" their malt with sugar coulour. Long oily streaks are drawn by the old Caol Ila in the glass. Very nice. In the meantime, he has taken some temperature in my Glencairn and also had enough time to breathe. From the glass a wonderful smoky carpet flows to me, which transports a colorful round of other flavors. First a fruity sweetie. Baked peaches, Austrian apricot roaster and ripe yellow pear. Then again leathery waxy notes. Everything is embedded in the massive sweetness of warm maple syrups. Finally, maritime notes. Sea kelp and sea salt crust, which I like to use on the Iberian Peninsula for packing oven fish, I notice right away. With something antiseptic. Hansaplast and the typical Brenneral character of Caol Ila greet. It is said that about 80% of the total aromas are perceived via the nose. Here, the Smoky Nectar knows how to convince all along the line. Just great.
And that's what I'm trying to do, as I would with a Bruichladdich in 1970, a Bowmore Seadragon or an Islay Trinitity. So calm with time and leisure in the mouth. Intense and velvety at the same time, tongue and palate signal back. You do not want to let go of the Smoky Nectar with its fine, oily consistency. The smoke is still wonderfully present, which may be due to the fact that was operated in 1983/84 at Caol Ila with exceptionally high phenol content in the malt. The longer I enjoy it, the more balanced the malt becomes and the more complex the flavors are. The impressions from the nose continue seamlessly. No disturbances of the oak. The Hogshead must have been absolutely flawless at the time, considering that about 60% of the taste is due to the barrel influences. Probably even more, after so many years. The powerful spiciness that brings Caol Ila from home is underlined all along the line. The baked peaches, the juicy apricots and the other aromas from the nose are gradually re-establishing themselves. In addition, honey butter comes to my mind. I can hold on to a thing forever and enjoy the elegance and variety. I love that, wonderful mouthfeel with a truly equal taste.
FINISH / CONCLUSION
The flavors found in nose and mouth go clean in the reverberation. In the end, as is often the case, the special strength of Rauchamalzes comes to light. Long and warm it smolders and finally turns into a mixture of fruity-fresh sweetness and cold ashy-chalky acting smoke. The smoke in the finish reminds me of a burning, small campfire in winter. The branches are still slightly damp and a bit resinous. At this level of philosphy over weaknesses and failing notes, it's basically forbidden by itself. No tannins or bitterness, no excessive dryness. What is sulfur? The malt is just incredibly dangerous good drinkable. At this point, I consciously avoid the verbs "full-bodied" and "tasty", although I must confess that they would have fit like a glove here.
Downer? Formally, the reduction could be advertised to 46% ABV, for which there may have been numerous reasons. I have, in addition to purely economic considerations, one or two other ideas why this is the case, but I do not want to speculate wildly. The malt itself is likely to have had 8-10 volume percent more alcohol before the addition of water. But that does not matter. Because the fact is, the Smoky Nectar itself has certainly not harmed it, rather aromas have been added. I spare myself here to enumerate all the classics, which were also reduced and are fantastic. Bowmore's legendary Seadragon, Murray McDavid's Islay Trilogy, Springbank 21 Feis Ile Madeira 2018 and countless others. By the way, 46% -48% alcohol remain, for me personally most of the time an ideal drinking strength.
All in all a fantastic whisky, excellently selected and in its balance almost perfect. A nectar, that is divine food, in the truest sense of the word.
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