...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Caol Ila 9 year old 2010 Signatory, Small Batch 7 for Germany

(Caol Ila cluster homepage)

This is the first of three 9 year old Caol Ilas, distilled in 2010 and bottled by Signatory, that I'll be reviewing. Not really sure how I lucked into a trio of such splits, in three difference circumstances, but there it is. Comparison time!

I'm fascinated by this "Small Batch" range. Signatory already has its famous Un-Chillfiltered series whose bottlings have expanded from single casks to triple casks. This small batch edition was assembled from five casks. One thing that does set it apart from the UCFs is that it's from more than one cask type. Here it's a pair of refill sherry butts and three refill hoggies.

Let's see how lucky the German CI fans were...

Distillery: Caol Ila
Region: Islay
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Range: Small Batch
Age: 9 years (2010 - 18 Mar 2020)
Maturation: 3 refill hogsheads + 2 refill sherry butts
Casks: 321718, 321722, and 321726 (hogs); 316635 and 316661 (butts)
Outturn: ????
Exclusive to: Alemania
Alcohol by Volume: 47.1%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from a bottle split)


Ah, super young in the nose. It starts off very grassy, with plenty of wet, sandy seaweed mixed in. After 20+ minutes of airing out, the nose starts to offer dried apricots, spearmint gum, and semisweet chocolate.

The palate is sooty and very ashy. Burnt grass, burnt anise, with some almond extract and sea salt. Floral notes take over and become almost perfumy.

It finishes simply with flowers, ash, and prosciutto.


Two surprises here. One, that I spelled "prosciutto" correctly on the first try. Two, this Caol Ila is a weird jumble. The nose is fine, though limited, while the palate reads like no actual blending was done, rather that a quintet of (troublesome?) casks were dumped together and diluted. I'm sure that's not the case, but it's what the result tastes like. It makes me yearn for one of the UCF Caol Ilas. Next up, a very different 9yo 2010...

Availability - Possibly still around in Germany
Pricing - around €65 - €75
Rating - 78