...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Caol Ila 18 year old 1995 SMWS 53.197

And it's off to the races to get to Whisky 2000! There will be five whisky reviews this week. And I'm back on the Clynelish - Caol Ila Train. As mentioned earlier this month, the reviews are going from youngest to oldest. Now we're up to the 18 year olds. One Caol Ila today, one Clynelish tomorrow. Both from refill hoggies.

Historically, I've found more misses than hits among the SMWS releases I've tried. That club's membership and prices remain remain a quandary to me, but they appear to be doing just fine without me and my money. In any case, it's difficult to screw up a well-aged Caol Ila, so lemme see...

A unicorn?
Distillery: Caol Ila
Owner: Diageo
Region: Islay
Independent bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
"Funny" name: A stoker in drag
Age: 18 years (24 August 1995 to 2014). That's a good birthday.
Maturation: Refill hogshead
Cask number: 53.197
Outturn: 253
Alcohol by Volume: 57.4%
(thanks to Brett P for the sample!)

Oh man, scrumptious peat on the nose, like peated pecan pie. Then pineapple juice and milk chocolate. Hints of iodine, lemon and smoked salmon. Mango, limes and BBQ-ish peat start off the palate. Then honey, baklava and almond cookies. The smoke gradually intensifies with time. The ABV reads like it's 10 points lower than it actually is. It finishes with salty smoked meats, a dry wood smoke, moss and limes.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Charred meat, smoked fish, soil, cloves and lemon candy on the nose. Wood smoke, Thai chiles and brown sugar on the palate, followed by smoked fish and a creamy mango pudding. The finish is a little sweeter than the palate and has a gentler smoke note. A little bit of the mango too.

An excellent whisky that reminds one not to weep for the loss of Port Ellen, this Caol Ila may be the best Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottling I've had. They bottled it at just the right time; excellent maturation without any oak interruption. The fruit, salt, smoke and savory elements are dynamite together. Yum. If you've got this, open this, drink this, especially in winter. Whisky 1001 is a success!

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 91