Bottle Name: 53.271 Smoky martini in a dirty glass
ABV: 57.3% Distillery: Caol Ila Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Region: Islay
There’s been a lot of SMWS 53s this year – but they’ve all been pretty solid. Standard stuff with this one – a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. Peated profile.
Nose: Super savoury, eschewing the usual Caol Ila lemony coastalness. Lobster, scallops, fish tanks and brine are joined by sea salt, ozone and smoked candy floss (if such a thing even exists). Throughout is a vegetal note of olives that is supported by a fresh smoke that feels more restaurant grill than it does peat bog. Dilution adds yet more umami with cream crackers, langoustines and some outright brine.
Taste: Meaty and oily! BBQ ribs, burnt ends, charred ham and heavily reduced stock. Smoke is more coastal and medicinal now – tarred ropes, engine ash, smoked kippers and brine. The whisky is lifted by pear and lemon sweetness (not tart) that balances with the carmelised meats pretty perfectly. The addition of water adds some vegetal flavours – green peppers, olives (again) and pickled cabbage.
Finish: Medium, with seaweed and a developing sweetness.
Happy days. Whilst this might look like many of the other SMWS Caol Ila’s, it’s actually a very memorable one. This is mainly due to a particularly savoury profile that emphasises seafood and meat rather than lemons and medicine. Refreshingly different and certainly recommended.
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