Another month, another Caol Ila – though peat fans will be disappointed to note that it’s this outturn’s sole green labelled expression. A 10 year old matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead.
Nose: An selection of seafood and savoury treats – buttered scallops and fresh oysters alongside brined black olives and green peppers. The smoke is ashy and dusty with coal, whilst offering flex with lemon peels and putty – it steadily develops a medicinal quality with pronounced antiseptic ointments and medical wipes wrapped up in a somewhat dirty fish tank. Dilution reduces definition somewhat, adding in rubberiness and an increased coastal mineral sharpness.
Taste: Sweet, citrus-tanged peat meets surf and turf. Langoustines and fish stew are served with beef stock, putty and melted Crayola crayons. Smoke is both sweet and tart with lemon peels and grapefruit segments alongside iodine, mineral dust and tarred ropes. In the back-palate – a developing menthol and salinity. Water adds honey in the form of cough-lozenges, whilst the smoke becomes increasingly ashy, but substantially drier. It also diminishes the overall expressiveness quickly – dilute sparingly here.
Finish: Long with fading medicinalness, lemon peels and salt.
A rich, citrus-sweet and mineral Caol Ila that hits the high spots until water is added. Once reduced, sadly everything becomes much more murky and less distinct. A tasty 53 that’s a near miss from the upper echelons of this month’s outturn.