Caol Ila 2003 Edition 54

Posted 13 May 2022 by Matt / In Caol Ila
The Dramble reviews Whisky Sponge Caol Ila 2003 18 year old Edition 54

Bottle Name: Caol Ila 2003 Edition 54

ABV: 53%
Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Whisky Sponge
Region: Islay Age: 18
Glass Weight: 489g

One of two sister hogsheads reduced down to 53% and bottled concurrently to typify the differences that are possible from an adaptable spirit such as Caol Ila. This one is rather mineral and coastal.

Nose: Craggy rocks and loamy clays provide a real sense of alluvialness whilst damp felt roofing and lemon-imbued surface cleaner join BBQ briquettes and seaweed for some typical Port Askaig action. Green apples and lemon verbena join the party after a little time resting in the glass. The addition of water reveals white chocolate and meat dripping together with wet sand and preserved lemon.

Taste: As oily and mouthcoating as one would expect. Rocky minerals open with pan fats and briny water before giving way to sweet and sour lemon and tart apple slices. Medicinal wipes follow, alongside salted toffee and a glug of fish stock. Reduction here brings out the fruitier aspects of the spirit with lemon gels and refined oils sitting alongside limestone cliffs.

Finish: Long with citric and mineral qualities to the very last.

Despite being less medicinal than many examples from this distillery, Sponge’s Edition 54 retains all of the character that defines this spirit style and its versatility – minerality, citrus and smoke. A little more relaxed given the time in the cask, and no worse for that either. It’s genuinely hard to mess up Caol Ila. This doesn’t.

Score: 87/100


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