...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Caol Ila 6 year old 2009 Hepburn's Choice for K&L

Yes, I'm following up a 5 year old hogshead-aged Hepburn's Choice Caol Ila bottled for K&L Wine Merchants with a 6 year old hogshead-aged Hepburn's Choice Caol Ila bottled for K&L Wine Merchants. How much trouble am I asking for here? Who needs taste buds anyway?

A couple of differences between Monday's whisky and this one, other than one whole additional year of maturation. This Caol Ila is somewhat more recent, released in 2016, rather than 2014. Wow! And, oh yeah, today's CI lived in a sherry hogshead for its 6+ years.

And with that, I'm going to start drinking.

Distillery: Caol Ila
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Hunter Laing
Label: Hepburn's Choice
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Age: 6 years (2009-2016)
Maturation: sherry hogshead
Bottles: 291
Alcohol by Volume: 58.9%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(Thanks to Monsieur Florin for the sample!)

Its color is nearly identical to the straw hue of the 5 year old. Those nose isn't the veggie patch that 5yo presented, but something a little more complex. There are the familiar youthful notes of green peat, pear and a whiff of mezcal, but there's also salted butter, lemon zest, fresh bread, charcoal ash and some fresh apricot. The palate is......good. Less pepper and heat than expected. Milder peat than in the nose. Solid combos of limes + apricots, and toffee + brown sugar are ever-present. More sherry and sweetness with time. Brown sugar, peat, pinches of pepper and salt in the finish. Just a sparkle of heat.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
A straightforward nose. Peat, sand, smoked salmon and orange zest. Very rich peat in the palate. Roasted almonds and fresh apples. A little bit of sherry and brown sugar. It finishes with peat, salt, apples and lemons.

I'm going to take Monday's rant and tuck it away today. This is a comfy whisky, providing a quality close to what Kilchoman can do at this age. The sherry is present, and may help to cover up a problem or two, but it never bullies the rest of the whisky away. In fact, the more I drink this, the more I like it. It even swims well. While this whisky would likely be better at twice its age, it would also risk too much cask action. So I have no problem with it right here. Hopefully I won't have to whip out that rant again next week.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $49.99
Rating - 85


  1. What did I think of it, you ask? "Fiery & farmy but with a soft fragrant side too, a beautiful one-off! Better than Speakeasy or XM 7yo Island. Excellent! Reminds one of Michael's Ledaig 9yo from Blackadder." 86-87pts I wish I had another bottle.

    1. So what did you think of it?


      Yeah, this baby CI was a real surprise. Thanks!