I can only agree with Whisky Hamster. I respect Serge’s whisky reviews very much, so this was also the reason why I bought one test bottle for my own tasting, especially as in today’s whisky market the price of 60€ is quite attractive and exceptional for a very good independent bottling (as unfortunately the prices have dramtically risen especially during the last two years).
At first glance I was excited about the good and delicate taste of this Caol Ila. But then I compared it head-to-head with the Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength Original Bottling. It became clear that the OB was much better than this G&M bottling as the OB is more fresh, more clean, more precise and complex, it offers the typical Caol Ila spirit profile.
The taste of the G&M is, of course, “darker” due to the first fill Sherry casks (for first fill still relatively moderate). This is quite good, I like this kind of Sherry profile which does not overlock the basic Caol Ila character. However, also it became evident that this G&M is much less complex than the mentioned OB CS and it tastes very young (yes, I did see it, 11 long senior years are written on the label ;-)).
Yes, but not only young, it resembles some of the about 5 year old Islay bottlings that you can find very often today as undisclosed sherried single cask bottlings. These are very well made (or shall I say “engineered”?), no doubt, and they are very quaffable and delicate, however it is a very modern style of making whisky which - IMHO - lacks refinement and “precise” complexity.
So to summarize, I am not thrilled about this whisky and cannot follow Serge's rating of 89. Decent and quaffable, absolutely! But not excellent (my 2 cents, only, of course).