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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Undisclosed Distillery (Caol Ila) 7 year old 2008 Single Cask Nation

While low scores help bring my average ratings back down to Earth, and the usage of online snark can be tasty, panning a whisky gives me little pleasure. (Also, I'm investing liver cells here.) But Monday's Clynelish was crap when neat. The next Clynelish (next week) will be 13 years old, from a different sort of cask and at a lower ABV. So I'm cautiously optimistic.

But enough about Clynelish, because we're back to Caol Ila! Probably.

Today's whisky was labelled "Undisclosed Distillery" by J&J of Single Cask Nation, and is listed as of the "Islay Region". This situation often = Lagavulin. But I was told by someone in the know that this is in fact Caol Ila. And the site says, "We believe this whisky was produced at Islay's powerhouse distillery located near Port Askaig." So there.

Last week's 5 year old CI perfectly illustrated my qualms about all the market's immature single casks, while the 6 year old CI proved the opposite. I'm hoping this will trend towards the 6yo.

Distillery: Undisclosed (Caol Ila)
Ownership: Who knows? (Diageo)
Independent Bottler: Single Cask Nation
Age: 7 years (August 2008 - August 2015)
Maturation: refill bourbon hogshead
Cask: 613-2
Outturn: 235
Alcohol by Volume: 57.8%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(Thanks to Brett for the sample! Again!)

Pine sap, confectioner's sugar, wheatgrass, cocoa and kirsch on the nose. The peat smoke starts off delicate, but builds with time, hoisting up a marzipan note along the way. The palate is less hot than I'd expected. There's plenty of sea salt, smoked peanuts and woody peat smoke. Also tart limes and marzipan. A little bit of ganja. A little bit more honeyed sweetness. It finishes warm and peaty. Lots of limes and nuts. It gets sweeter with time.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose becomes farmy barny. Also plenty of orange zest, simple syrup, ocean air and cream of wheat. The palate balances citrus, sugar, vanilla and peat. It also has some smaller floral, peppery and savory notes. It finishes sweet and floral with a puff of wood smoke.

I'm going to guess this was a second-fill hoggie because there's some actual maturation here and a touch of good American oak (when diluted). It's still a youngster, but it's not palate-stripping. The salt, citrus and nuts worked well, though the sweetness got a bit aggressive. But no huge plusses, no huge minuses. Sturdy at seven years. Though at that price...

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $125
Rating - 83