Caol Ila 20yo 2000 G&M 59.6% Connoisseur's Choice.
It's hard to believe that this is the weakest abv whisky I’m drinking tonight, but there you have it. I was sure this one would drink bigger than the silky 64% bourbon I just had, so I saved it for last.
Orange. Dark gold or light amber.
Aroma is almost minerally, some glue and playdoh, waxy, not really getting smoke at all, touch of mace spice, seasidey. Comes across as being very closed up.
Taste is not too impactful at the abv (note what I said about my drinking habits this evening though). Again minerally. Yes there’s smoke and salt, the Caol Ila staples. But there’s a pebble-salty mineral vibe and an egg custard tart background. Sort of a salted caramel and coffee cake vibe start to come through with time. They’re taking a backseat role.
On the swallow everything ramps up in intensity. All salt and salt and caramac bar, toffee biscuit and ... salt (forgive me for the lame description – I just find Caol Ila intrinsically very salty). The smoke is relatively subtle. There is a biscuitiness and some soft raisin vibes that do lend some complexity to this one but ultimately it’s just another Caol Ila for me, but with a poor nose and quite a disjointed palate. Plenty of redeeming flavours but a bit boring. 3.325/79.5
With a small drop of water and a wait.......the aroma doesn’t change much. Slightly more meaty. More of the plasticky notes, burnt plastic. It’s just not a great nose.
Taste is now more sherry-led. The saltiness has died down. Appley fino-like sherry. Interesting. A drop of water has balanced this out a lot and brought more credibility to the offering, but I’m not saying that I prefer it. In this case the cask and the spirit are clashing a bit for me.
With water you get more of the cask character, but the sherry vibes are a bit waxy-appley-thin. It’s fine. Maybe the more punchy spirit character at the higher abv suited this dram a bit more, but ultimately I wasn’t a huge fan in either case. 3.3/79