Caol Ila 200119 year old Gordon & MacPhail TWE Exclusive

Posted 04 August 2021 by Matt / In Caol Ila
The Dramble reviews Caol Ila 2001 19 year old Gordon & MacPhail TWE Exclusive

Bottle Name: Caol Ila 2001 TWE Exclusive

ABV: 57.6%
Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Gordon and MacPhail
Region: Islay Age: 19

There’s always lots of indy Caol Ila floating around – but rather less of it is allowed to get to nearly 20 decades of maturation. This Gordon & MacPhail Whisky Exchange exclusive was laid down in 2001 in 1st fill ex-bourbon – with 192 bottles resulting 19 years later. Available from The Whisky Exchange for £175 a bottle.

Nose: Burnt autumn leaves, fabric plasters, gauze, scorched apples and char-grilled pineapples sit with brass polish, seaweed and plenty of alluvialness – putties, clays and graphite. Walnuts and almond oil support, alongside saline, hessian and asides of game meats. Water introduces petrichor and ozone together with olive brine and baked apples sprinkled with golden caster sugar.

Taste: Less expansive, but still with a journey to take us on. The arrival is rather chewy and sweet, offering smoked apples, pears and pineapple chunks together with an array of charcoal and canvas notes. The development brings considerably intensity with ashy fireplace smoke, a dusting of paprika and a generous grind of black pepper. Dilution reveals additional distillate sweetness from concentrated fruit salad cordial and touches of citrus oils.

Finish: Quite long and focussing on salt (saline), pepper and lemon-tinged apple slices.

Moving away from the growing tranche of younger (but still excellent!) Caol Ila’s that indy bottlers have been foisting onto the market recently – this TWE Exclusive G&M bottling offers something rather singular. The usual chiselled minerality, high impact lemon and medicinal peat influence have all given way to broader, more ‘grown-up’ up aromas and flavours. And the outcome is a most welcome departure indeed – offering high drinkability straight out of the bottle and an arrangement that works as perfectly as all Caol Ila’s tend to. Just a shame that the price feels quite the push.

Review sample provided by The Whisky Exchange.

Score: 87/100

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