Caol Ila 35 yo ‘Director’s Special’ (50.9%, Single Malts of Scotland, Elixir Distillers, 2020) Five stars
Picture of an earlier bottling of Caol Ila in the same prestigious series, as this one is brand new and I haven’t seen a picture yet. In theory, this should be a 1984, but that’s only a theory.
Colour: light gold.
Nose: aren’t these vintages eternal? When trying them you could easily believe that they could go to 100 years old effortlessly, really. The glory of good, well-behaved refill wood! As for what’s in there, well I would mention putty (as always), bergamots and kumquats, soft brown liquorice, a little camphor, a few drops from a very old bottle of Bénédictine, and then, which is just amazing at 35, ‘a walk on the beach at low tide’. Kelp, wet sand, seashells and all that. Even little green crabs. Or there, razor shells and cockles (oh agreed, just any shells). Wow.
With water: lovely notes of fresh oil paint, linseed oil, more putty, leather cream…
Mouth: oh my is it tight and compact! Citrons, sesame oil, brine, a putty-like almondiness, lemongrass, touches of coriander leaf… Indeed, 100 yo in shy wood, and easily, no problems.
With water: fab-tas-tic. A little sweeter (crystallised grapefruit), with a few ashes, more almond paste, rapeseed oil, pips… I’m even finding a little chlorophyl, I think.
Finish: rather long and undoubtedly more coastal. Ashes, oysters, lemon juice, kippers, and yet more putty and marzipan. The aftertaste is incredibly fresh. Pink grapefruits.
Comments: what a journey. Marvellous ‘old’ Caol Ila that does not taste old at all. And the citrus!
SGP:655 - 92 points.