Caol Ila 2000/2011 (55.3%, Single Cask Collection, Willi Opitz Homok finish, bourbon) Five stars This should be interesting. Willi Opitz makes great Sauternes-like wines (right, more or less) in Austria, rather Trockenbeerenausele style, but his Homok is rather made like sherry I believe, or rather vin jaune. It’s mostly gewürztraminer that’s kept in wood for around seven years, most probably under a ‘veil’ or flor, so the wine should become ‘neo-oxidative’, just like sherry. Anyway, let’s see what gives, this is not winefun.com. Colour: pale amber with salmony hues. Nose: no extreme winey notes, that’s good. In fact, it’s the distillate that’s got the upper hand here, and this could be any excellent CI ex-refill sherry in my opinion, even if some aspects may come from the Opitz cask, such as these delicate mushroomy notes, the tinned litchis and, indeed, the juicy sultanas. In fact, it does give a slightly muscaty feeling but it’s all very elegant and fresh. Wow! With water: more of the same, this is unexpectedly delicate. Hints of Linzer Torte? ;-) Mouth (neat): oh, this is even funnier. Sure it’s all a tad unlikely, especially the very sweet fruitiness, but, well, it works. Tinned litchis again, tangerines, blood oranges, Sichuan pepper and green pepper with the peat roaring underneath… It’s good and actually very funny! And always this muscaty feeling… with water: a delicacy, or rather kind of a high-end mandarine liqueur. A peated one, no need to say. Finish: long, more on bitter oranges and sultanas. Comments: good, I shouldn’t have liked this ‘stunt’ but I did. I also appreciate the fact that the bottlers are Austrian and that they used a wine cask that was from their homeland and close to their hearts (I suppose). Very far from just a gimmick, very, very well done guys! Where can we buy some empty ex-Opitz Homok casks? ;-)… SGP:555 - 90 points.