It’s rare to find old an Caol Ila, since most of them are usually appreciated in their teens, when the Islay aromas are bold and fiery and the clean and maritime strikes the palate as smoky yet refreshing. And yet, at times it pays to wait longer… Slowly savour its elegant aromas: mineral, with a slightly citrusy note and just a touch of beeswax and medicinal herbs. So clean after all these years! If at the nose it’s fragrant but comparatively delicate, in the mouth it explodes with vibrant smokiness, and yet it’s not brutal. After 30 years in a refill cask, if you close your eyes it almost reminds of a Port Ellen: so rich and intense, but enveloped in a creamy and velvety caress.
Nose: Sweet and creamy. Hot cross buns. Stretchy, chewy white taffee or nougat. Vanilla and melted white chocolate. Lemon. Very faint smoke. Some very soft syrupy fruits (pear, green grape, orange…maybe touches of peach). Again…not so sure about those comparisons to Port Ellen. This is much sweeter and creamier.
Palate: Fruit cocktail. Tangy tangerine and pineapple. Smoke. Black currant. Unbaked spicy dough. Great oily mouthfeel and big beautiful flavours.
Thoughts: Wow…there is a great balance in this bottle. A great cask at an ideal age. Love the pronounced and unique fruit profile. An old Coal Ila with a lot of life in it still.
Delicate and high end peat. Fresh yeast. Yeah. The freshness of a freshly kneaded bread dough (that makes a lot of freshness, uh?). Delicacy of a very lightly sugared lemon juice. Great nose, really. Not the sexiest, but very classy.
But where are the 58.8%? In the soft and sweet feeling of the attack? Starts on praline "feuilleté"? Then, the wood and cold ashes take the lead. Soft liquorice. The nose was sharper, the mouth is smoother. Some may enjoy it, others may feel sorry about it.
Long, sustained by an true grassy bitterness, and an obvious salty caracter that recalls Vichy water.
Not the easiest Caol Ila, but undoubtly a nice one, crafted from a nice spirit. Sharp at the nose, softer in the mouth, with a remarkable balance.