Thanks to /u/ScotchGuy_TO for pouring me this dram.
So we’re at part 2 of the continuation of the “end of year” tasting I had. These are the drams that I was worn out to review.
Caol Ila 8 2006 Alexander Murray is a simple idea: Independent bottling of a vatted, ex-bourbon cask Caol Ila. We have an age, we have a vintage, and we have a cask type. It’s not cask strength, it’s in fact at what I call Accountant’s Strength, as it’s the lowest legal strength you can still call it whisky.
So why did it show up to a tasting with a 50-year-old single grain, two 24+ Islays, and many others? Because, as ScotchGuy_TO noted, it was good. It’ll fill in some peat holes in our tasting. You know, the tasting that had three peated whiskies. Which were older, so the peat has worn off.
I’m taking the piss, I appreciate any whisky. These days the drive to find something affordable that tastes good and is interesting. As prices continue to rise because waves frantically, it’s a nice idea to try some things down to earth.
Hopefully it doesn’t taste like said earth too much. Let’s see, shall we?
Cask type: Ex-Bourbon Casks
Colour: 2.5Y 8/8
Nose: Cocoa, funk, grass, brown sugar
Peat can sometimes change to cocoa notes with some grass and/or funk, and that’s what has happened here. It’s a nice package, and isn’t going to blow down your house with peat.
Like some sort of Scotch/Big Bad Wolf hybrid, which I’m assuming there’s already fanfiction explaining how it came into being. Maybe you’ll be the first to find them!
Taste: Coal, licorice, butter, salt, lime
Earthy, but not too much. Here the smoke is closer to sweet/earth elements, so coal and licorice. It takes a bit of time fo the Caol Ila lime (good citrus) to come out.
It all works. This is pretty easy drinking.
Finish: Salt, peat, anise, herbal
If I’m to nitpick about this whisky, and trust me, that’s not easy, it’s not that it’s simple. I expect a younger whisky to be simple, especially at this strength. No, it’s that the finish seems to need something to latch onto. The smoke is less developed like the rest, the salt is the main thing, and it doesn’t have a main aspect (like butter or lime or grass) to latch onto.
Conclusion: This has no right to be as good as it is. No right at all. This is vatting at it’s best to make something good. I’m flat out impressed.
So is this going to be bought by the case over the standard OB? No, what are you, not reading? This is the same price as bargain bin, lower shelf picks with all the good aspects of Caol Ila, and nothing more. Literally nothing more. This is the skeleton of Caol Ila. Like Caol Ila? Need a daily dram that’s slightly better than JW Black (my quintessential daily drinker)? Then boom, you buy this. If you still can. Which I think you can.
Scotch review #1548, Islay review #400, Whisky Network review #2269