We had to wait a while for it (after all, this fella was already bottled in January of this year), but finally this Caol Ila in the Sticky Label series of Buds & Barrels is available. Tom Haseldonckx, the driving force behind Buds & Barrels, bottled it – at cask strength – in the Vintage War Series. It is not surprising that I was very much looking forward to this, because Caol Ila is after all my favorite malt from Islay.
Ha! That's exactly what I was hoping for! A dirty, firm nose on earthy notes, wet rocks, a cartload of citrus fruit and a fishing boat along the quay with the diesel fumes still in the air. Ship's twine and seaweed, olive oil and vanilla. A battle between sweet and salty notes with a nice smokiness in the background. Top!
On the palate it starts rather sweet with some white fruit, malt sugars, honey and vanilla, while the pepper and peat, as well as a lot of maritime elements, make their appearance. And then make their entrance with much fanfare! An explosion on the tongue. Powerful, peaty and salty. Candied ginger, licorice and peat mix well with the sweetness of the honey and vanilla. Great balance.
The finish is very long, very satisfying and like a yo-yo between sweet and salty.
Mr Constent does it again! Fantasctic Caol Ila. Recommended.