Thanks to /u/xile_ for bringing this dram to share at our latest tasting (that I’ve had time to write up).
Cool picture on the bottle? Check.
Islay single malt? Check
Sherry cask? Check
Cask Strength? Check.
Yeah, this checks all the boxes of what I typically go for. Well, not that first one, it’s an added bonus. Just look at that eagle!
Thus I saved some room for Caol Ila 14 2001 Maltbarn, a mid aged, peated offering from Caol Ila.
I don’t feel like I’ve done enough Maltbarn releases. It could be that they are a German company, and I live in a not German country. However if they’re good enough, I’ll consider it.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Matured in a: Sherry Cask
Total Bottles: 194
Colour: 5Y 7/8
Nose: Milk chocolate, brine, tobacco, cashew, malt
Interesting, it has a nice creamy, chocolate note. It’s not a peat bomb, it’s creamier, and has more malt and nuttiness.
No sign of the typical lime from Caol Ila. That said, the creaminess takes over.
Taste: Lime, brine, candy cane, caramel, papaya grilled with salt
Ah, there’s the lime I was looking for. This grows as you have more of it. Water brings out tropical notes, brine mixture, and even bigger flavours.
And there’s still an Eagle on the label!
Finish: Oak, lime zest, butter, butterscotch, milk chocolate
More of the same for the finish. Less tropical, the water brings out the milk chocolate from the nose.
Simpler than the nose and taste gave off, however it’s nice and creamy at the end. Finish isn’t huge, but nice.
Conclusion: When the dram was still in the cask, and was tasted at the 14 year mark, based on the profile it currently has, I surmise that it used to be more complex and they waited too long to bottle it, or it was about to become complex, and they bottled it too early.
Based on my earlier experience with Maltbarn, I can’t see them buying a cask that wasn’t ready yet. Instead I can see them asking how the cask used to be, and the distiller stating that it’s time to bottle the malt, and that’s why we ended up with it as a 14 year old malt.
This whole thing is cream and chocolate. Nice mintiness, good amount of lime, and even some butter. The taste will be the biggest surprise of the whole thing.
Really it’s a nice dram to finish a tasting on. A not-to-sweet dessert dram that could replace a cake any day of the week. Yes, even Saturday.
Scotch review #860, Islay review #212, Whisky Network review #1381
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