Colour: The NL is a shade darker than the BE, but not really significant.
Nose: Both have this adorable, very complex and creamy aromas
profile that is so typical for 30+ years Caol Ila from that time. The
NL is a little smokier and offers more sea notes while the BE has some
fruity aromas (apples) in addition. Water is not needed. On the nose I
vote a draw, both are simply great.
Arrival: The BE has a remarkable big arrival on the tongue,
mouth-coating and oily. The NL is fat and oily too, but not as sticky
as the BE. So this round goes clearly to Belgium.
Body: Both creamy (toffee), complex and very balanced with a light,
old-style smokiness. The NL has some flavours that remind me of salted
popcorn or honeycomb while the BE offers tropical fruits, spices (black pepper,
salt) and a hint of dark chocolate. Both are very delicious with a
slight advantage for the Dutch this time.
Finish: Remarkably long on both sides. The NL is nicely creamy here
while the BE offers more vanilla and wooden notes. Another slight advantage for the Dutch again..
With water the NL gets much smoother while the BE shows a little more
oakiness, but I like the more sharp profile better when both are neat.
All in all this is a draw, so both the Belgians and the Dutch did a
marvellous job when selecting their cask. Well done!