...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Caol Ila 22 year old, Feis Ile 2019

Angus gave this a 92. Thijs said, 91 points. The Whiskybase community: 90.61 points. Mark Dermul, a 93. Anticipation! Expectation! Intoxication! Sherried CI is good, sherried CI with some age on it is usually better. So this thingy, a full-power 22 year old Caol Ila from sherry casks (er, sherry-treated American oak casks), probably earned those scores. MY TURN.

Distillery: Caol Ila
Owner: Diageo
Region: Islay
Maturation: sherry-treated American oak casks
Age: minimum 22 years
Release date: 2019
Outturn: 3,000 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 58.4%
Chill-filtration? Probably not
Caramel coloring? Maybe
(from a bottle split)

Reads like a dry sherry (fino?) on the nose. It has gentle ocean and ash notes that drift above. Nutmeg, cinnamon, shortbread and lemon custard below. The palate reads surprisingly hot and not very expressive. It's very salty and puckeringly tart. Some cherry shisha, ginger syrup, cocoa and a hint of tropical fruit punch. Some length to the finish, but it's most heat. Roasted almonds and subtle smoke. Tart citrus. A dried seaweed note comes around after a while.

Gonna dilute it...

DILUTED TO ~50%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky
More smoked meat, manure and chlorine in the nose. Then butterscotch and calvados. The palate gets simpler: limes, minerals, roses, vanilla bean and a soft sweetness. The finish has cooled off. Now it's all lime candy, menthol and wood smoke.

More water...

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1⅔ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Some classic oloroso notes show up, mixing well with the wood smoke and honey in the nose. The palate has become much more graceful. There's ginger, honey, limes, earth and leaves. The finish matches the palate and adds a pinch of good bitterness.

Either I'm going to piss off Caol Ila fans this week or they're just laughing at me. Along with everyone else. This is a very good whisky, but falls short of the excitement I'd hoped for. I like it much better at 46% than at 58.4%, so  perhaps it improves further with more dilution. When neat, it's quite tight and not nearly as expressive as last week's CIs, especially the glorious G&M cask. I do appreciate how well the spirit and cask have integrated. It's likely going to be better than 88% of what most of us will drink this year, but weep not if you missed it.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88 (diluted)

No comments:

Post a Comment