N: The cask strenght bottling (61,6%) doesn't make it unapproachable; it doesn't hit you and the first impressions come quite soon. You have to choose your party from the very beginning with this Caol Ila: if you hate meaty and sulphury notes, you'd better pass over this malt (we can figure the harsh failure that Jim Murray would inflict to it). Anyway, if not predominant, this features (from the bouillon cube to rotten oranges) please us and add complexity. Apart from this aspect, we find here a rich malt: cane sugar and dried fruit emerge even leaving neat the whisky . Moreover you'll find the medicinal Caol Ila dimension. A hint of gasoline, with smoky wood in the background. By adding water, the sulphury notes lose their power while the smokiness opens brutally. On the top, above a rich fruitiness a ripe Stark apple aroma stands so clear and magnificent.
P: Here comes the cask strenght! However, not disturbing in mouth. Once you drink this Caol Ila, you soon realize this is a "significant" malt, full-bodied and with intensive and long-lasting flavors. These run on the same path as the nose: bouillon cube and overripe orange as soon as malt touches the tongue, then a true fruit 'festival'. With water the fruity notes become clearer: ripe apple, cherry, dried apricot and a bit of ginger. Among all a delicate peat, smoky and woody carpet, just to remember this is all about Islay. In the end, a lot of pleased smiles...
F: longlasting. The cask gives a fantastic and continuous flow of wood. Typical distillery notes, from peat to salt, are definitely here. The strong-sherried character given by the first fill cask then brings sweetness: it feels like the apple rind that pipe smokers put in their tobacco to keep it wet.
In the end, this Caol Ila is strong flavored but everything is well balanced: the features from the sherry cask first fill perfectly suited with a soft peatiness. We truly loved it!