T: Loving the strength of this, perfect right out of the bottle - and I think grand, old peated whisky needs that abv boost. Smoky-cereal chew,…
F: Well, it's all there,....... Ideal dram
C: Can't imagine much touching this today. In hindsight it was indeed my dram of the Midlands Whisky Festival 2016
Scores an A
N: Bourbon cask maturation can be so refreshing after sherry, even after great sherry numbers. The peat here is firm yet modest, which means it’s integrated. Notes aren’t as obvious as the Glenallachie, but I picked out almond shells, lightly salted wet pebbles, very light lemon-y salad dressing, lemon drizzle biscuits and breaded oysters [imagine]. Caol Ila’s signatory dirty oiliness lies within, something I distinctly noted from my first Caol Ila 12yo I bought many years ago in Swanage.
T: There’s no need for water, though dilution will immediately lead to a thicker mouthfeel. Either way there’s an assured yet refreshing/pick-me-up bitter citrus cereal development, the smoke utterly assimilated. It takes water like a duck to, er,…. Nutty witch hazel on the turn.
F: Wraps up fairly smartly with a peated < malted barley chew, as candid as the raw ingredients themselves on a distillery tour. Further nutty witch hazel action concludes, though it also salivates at the death.
C: HL bottled only 46 in 2016, but at 52.1% abv, we may see some shared or sister cask bottlings from other independents in due course, unless the water evaporation was significant. I over-scored this last time , reflective of its surroundings no doubt. There’s little subjective romance here [compared to the Glenallachie], nor too much complexity. This is simply decent spirit, well-aged in a decent cask.
Scores an A-