Thanks to /u/devoz for the sample.
Why not include this in my multi-review of a bunch of Caol Ilas? Cause it came later. Also I did a lot of work between then and now and don’t want to have to change all my numbering. Also I’m lazy. Let’s not forget that.
Young peated malts are an exception to a rule about young malt, I’m finding. Where as you can always fluke out and end up with a whisky that works at a young age, the vast majority of the time it’ll have peat in it. Or be smoked, in some way.
There are some exceptions, of course. But typically, if you’re buying a young malt, peat is the way to go.
Thus I have no worries about Caol Ila 11 2005 Gordon & MacPhail bottled for Kensington Wine Market, because it peated. Also because it’s sister casks have made the rounds and then some.
So with all that fun hype, let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: $134.99 CAD at Kensingtone Wine Market
Age: 11 years
Cask Number 302022
Cask Type: Refill Bourbon Barrel
Colour: 10Y 9/8
Nose: Tobacco, peach, lots of Salty Dog (the drink, not the actual dog), moss, smoke, cocoa
Initial notes of improved peat and stone fruit are nice, however eventually this whole thing turns into grapefruit, salt, and alcohol. Lots of it. And while I’m not too young to hate on a Salty Dog now and then, I was here for whisky.
Eventually the aunty-drink calms down enough to let some smoke, earth, and cocoa shine through. That said, if you aren’t into that cocktail, this may not be for you.
Taste: Butter, smoke, cocoa, caramel, pine, pear, peach jelly
Luckily the fruit drink brigade has ended at the nose. Now we’re back to a more traditional, if quite nice and well developed, Coal Ila profile. Mixtures of smoke, cocoa, and caramel.
There is a little bit of young spirit that jumps out, and the stone fruit does eventually come back. This is quite similar to the 12 year in taste. That’s a double edged sword, as it’s nice, but it’s not doing anything more special than a standard, so why did you pay extra for it?
Finish: Rich buttery steak, rosemary, blueberry, salt, smoke, mint
Finish is the answer to my question before. This has a steak flavour that hits right off the bat, nice fruit notes, and overall good herbal notes.
I really wish the finish was longer, but overall this is quite nice.
Conclusion: It’s not easy to review this dram. It’s certainly unique in it’s flavours. But there’s some holes in it that make me wonder.
The nose is too much grapefruit. It’s complex in that it mirrors a cocktail, but mostly only that cocktail. And I’m not just saying that over and over to say “cock” over and over.
The taste is very, very similar to Caol Ila 12. Again, not a bad thing, but I ask why drink a cask strength single cask if it tastes like the standard?
Finally the finish, which I liked the most. As such, I rate this as a slight upgrade from the standard Caol Ila. It’s nice to sip on. Interesting to try, but I’m glad I didn’t end up with a bottle of it.
Scotch review #612, Islay review #142, Whisky Network review #1017