And I’m back at the Highlander Pub, just like I said would happen because it already happened and boom I’m right because I lived it.
Gaze upon my majesty and weep.
So imagine you did one thing really, really well. So well, in fact, that you and your friends who do that thing, in your chosen area, are known worldwide for it.
You’re Islay. You make peated whisky like nobodies business. And people love peated whisky so much it becomes a trend. A trend that, of course, starts getting people who don’t like peat speaking up and pointing out the other, non-peated whiskies are able to build a flavour profile without this step, and they don’t need it, and therefore they are better, blah, blah, blah.
Yes, that’s a strawman. Or a peatman in this case. However I have heard some clash against big, brash peated whiskies, and a call for subtlety and all that. So much so, I think some of it got to the distilleries on Islay. Enough for us to see non-peated versions in recent years.
You can’t throw a digital picture of a dead cat around here without hitting up a user who has tried and been unhappy with Ardbeg Blasda.
That said, the same can almost be said of the Caol Ila Unpeated Style that has seen an 8 year, a 12 year, a 15 year, and a 17 year release.
Today I’m reviewing the Caol Ila 15 Unpeated, originally distilled in 1998 to avoid the apocalypse as originally noted by the Aztecs (Citation Needed). It’s aged in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, and released at cask strength, showing that Caol Ila knows what they are doing versus other, less popular non-peated versions.
I didn’t buy a bottle when it came out, because… reasons? I think someone compared it to Clynelish and that turned me off a little. I don’t know. I was silly.
None the less, I’m able to try some now, and the 17 year is showing up soon, so perhaps I can start hunting down these drams. Let’s see how this one tastes, shall we?
Price: No longer available at the LCBO
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Key lime pie filling, cereal, mint, buttermilk, lemongrass, oak, radish
Wow. I’m a moron for not buying this. Moving on.
Huge nose. Really cool flavours. Quite citrus and sweet, with the right amount of cereal, as I was told.
Taste: Croissant, cereal, cream, caramel, pretzels, floral
More and more of a bread shop on this one. Like some odd hybrid of Auchentoshan and Clynelish. There’s big, odd flavours, and it’s really buttery.
Maybe if I stopped eating real butter and just used whisky for butter kicks, I’d be fine? Or drunk all the time. Yeah, probably not going to work.
Finish: Tobacco, lemon curd, ginger, malt, roux, mint
Long finish. Not as complex, though there’s a cooked butter/flour flavour that I get when I make a roux, with a nutty element to it.
I’m not in love with the finish as much as I should be, and that’s because I’m not the biggest tobacco fan. If you are, you’ll love this.
Conclusion: Wow. Really interesting dram. Nothing overtly complex and crazy, but it has a cavalcade of flavours that really surprise you.
This is a really unique dram. I’m really wondering what it’s like older or younger. If I liked tobacco more, I’d probably have given this a much higher score. But I don’t and thems the breaks.
Scotch review #486, Islay review #103, Whisky Network review #790