Caol Ila 2010 TWE Exclusive
Posted 01 February 2022 by Matt / In Caol Ila
Bottle Name: Caol Ila 2010 11 year old TWE Exclusive
Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Looking distinctively like one of Signatory’s more active sherry casks judging by the rather opaque hue. This Caol Ila has been matured for 11 years in a (quite active?!) refill sherry butt. Bottled at 58.2% ABV and available from The Whisky Exchange website for £120.
Nose: Intense, sweet and robust. Macerated and booze-pickled black and red berries join biltong and air-dried ham, whilst coastal peat – possessing a touch of granite minerality and breeze – sits alongside glace cherries, chocolate gateaux and molasses. Bombastic. But certainly, favouring the sherry cask. Reduction lowers the saccharine levels and reveals some citrus (yay) in amongst the sherry mire alongside ginger, cinnamon and clove spicing.
Taste: Sweet ashtray. An immediate better balance between the spirit and the cask – here, both are going to pummel you directly in the face. In the red corner - stewed blackberries, blackcurrants and plums with fig rolls, sultanas, and a slab of heavy chocolate cake. In the blue corner – coal tar, fireplace soot, BBQ briquettes and leaf mulch. I can dig it. Water takes things down a notch and the result is less pugilistic. Burnt parchment paper, smouldering soils, dark sugars and cask char in the back palate.
Finish: Very long with persistent ashy smoke, liquorice, anise and mossiness.
This 2010 Signatory Vintage Caol Ila is starting to head into the extreme category. But it’s undeniably highly impactful and pretty fun to boot. If you’re looking for the tried and tested sherry and peat combination and just want as much of both as possible – look no further. Whilst the nose arguably favours the former, the palate delivers both, near simultaneously and with immense force. There’s just enough Caol Ila cues dotted here and there for me not to criticise that the distillate has been entirely lost by the cask – but it’s a close-run thing. Wonderfully punishing. But starting to feel expensive for what might for some only be an occasional novelty dram.
Review sample provided by The Whisky Exchange
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