MMM - short for Mark & Manny's Malts - launched their fourth and final bottling in the Animal Series. It was dubbed The Elephant because this Caol Ila truly is a mighty animal with its cask strength of 59,8% AB. Imanuel and I are quite happy with the discovery (and acquisition!) of this cask. You should have seen our faces when we first tried it. Without a word we looked at each other and immediately had a big smile on our faces. 'Sold!' we shouted in unison, followed by a huge guffaw and a high five.
Typical Caol Ila nose, just the way I like it. Maritime elements on the one hand (think seaweeds, stockfish, rocky coast), white fruit on the other (mostly apples and lemon). A hint of sweet vanilla and a little bit of pepper from the bourbon cask. Nice smokiness with ashes and even a bit medicinal. Think bandages. Lastly, some grassy notes. I love it!
It is very clean and wonderfully oily. Immediately it fills the mouth with salted lime juice (What? Yup!), a grand smokiness, warm pepper and a lovely sweet element. Ginger, liquorices, vanilla - it all fits hand in glove. Water it totally unnecessary (I even recommend not to dilute it).
Lovely long finish in which the smokiness even increases. At the death, salt and sweetness go head to head again, but it is the smoke that lingers the longest.
Yes, this is what you would call textbook Caol Ila, but very powerful. This is the 70th Cao Ila that I try. What a blast. We are very proud of this one. High five!