Whisky Sponge Caol Ila Edition 32

Posted 11 August 2021 by Matt / In Caol Ila
The Dramble reviews Whisky Sponge Caol Ila 9 year old Edition 32

Bottle Name: Caol Ila

ABV: 53.6%
Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Whisky Sponge
Region: Islay Age: 9

Another Sponge “assemblage” – this time over to Islay where there’s seemingly enough Caol Ila for every single person on the planet to be gifted a cask by the government at birth. Ah well, no bad thing – of all the distilleries to possess an overabundance, there are many I’d peg lower than Caol Ila. This Sponge edition (#32) is the bottler’s latest (yay! I’m finally up to date) and has been composed of a refill hogshead combined with a rejuvenated hogshead. Bottled at 53.6% and with 481 bottles produced – having now tasted it, I’m more than a bit sad that I didn’t jump on it – as it didn’t sell out on impact as most Sponge released tend to.

Nose: Presenting a rather pure profile and rounded profile of fresh lemon peels, brine and treated bandages, before considerably expanding in scope in the glass. Honey bread and Honey Nut Loops together with citronella candles, crab sticks and langoustines cooked in butter. Considerably less medicinal than one might expect (which is most certainly a trap). Dilution expresses a sweeter character – citric gels – alongside pangs of coastalness – chalk and ground pumice.

Taste: Boom. There’s the medicinal peat. Coal ash, floor cleaner and antiseptic rush into the palate, before being joined by TCP and a selection of smoked lemons and smoked fish. Cliff faces, brine and butter follow together with sweeter notes of apple slices and lemon bonbons. A real progressive development. Water condenses the journey – adding citrus jellies, bandages, ointments and Vicks Vaporub – all at the same time.

Finish: Long with ash, lemon, brine and persistent medicinalness.

An initially atypical Caol Ila that lures one in with a softer, smoothed and pleasantly dialled down nose, before beating them around the face with a (now unexpected) torrent of high intensity medicinalness, coastalness and honed citrus fruits. There’s a real progressive journey on the palate – something of a whistle-stop tour of Caol Ila’s greatest hits. And everything works a treat.

Score: 88/100

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