Another month, another Caol Ila – but, this one comes from the younger end of the spectrum after a mere 6 years in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. Peated Profile.
Nose: Hewn rocks – shale and limestone - come together with seafood (fresh prawn and lobster), fermenting home-brew, kelp and brine. Running throughout, some trademark Caol Ila lemon – alongside dirty engine oil, hospital wards, ozone and menthol. Precise and well-honed. Reduction brings forth a wave of farmyard with hay, pig sty, old barns and yeasty bread.
Taste: The arrival is all lemons – zest, juice and balm – and powerfully peaty – hearth fires, ash, bitumen and tar alongside smoked fish, engine oil and greasy lubricant. The chiselled minerality remains – granite, rock pools and salty sea water. The mid to back palates reveal the farmyard detected on the reduced nose – yeasty, buttery and almost lactic. Water calms, diverting the profile away from smoke towards a fruitier outlook – peach and pineapple – but still with plenty of salinity.
Finish: Quite long with lime zest, ash and sticky BBQ’d burnt ends.
This young Caol Ila is big, bold and ballsy, yet at the same time, still packed full of poise and nuance. It’s peaty and meaty, yet still precise, carved and firmly coastal. At £67 it’s pricy for a mere 6 years old age – however, it’s right up with the best of the younger 53’s I’ve tasted since last year. Highly recommended and my pick of the outturn.