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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Caol Ila 9 year old 2009 TWE, The Magic of the Cask

I'm not entirely sure why I went in on a bottle split of this whisky, but what the hell, it's another Caol Ila week! This one is a single cask from the Elixir Distillers / The Whisky Exchange crew, released for last year's The Whisky Show. Though it was allegedly aged in an actual(!) bodega cask, it's another one of the scores of single digit indie Caol Ila casks that appear every month. It's just difficult to get excited about them. TWE/Elixir does tend to pick good stuff, so here I go...

Distillery: Caol Ila
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Elixir Distillers
Exclusive to: The Whisky Exchange
Age: 9 years old (2009 - 2019)
Maturation: refill Gonzáles Byass sherry cask
Cask #: 316103
Outturn: 308 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 58.7%
(from a bottle split)

A blast of classic, though generic, sherry cask hits first then quickly fades from the nose, being replaced by sneaker peat and tennis ball peat and pork chops. Then honey, cinnamon syrup, brine, carpet and lots of heat. The hot palate mixes cherry soda, mint and heavy industrial smoke. Then cotton candy, tart berries, pickled ginger and a hint of florals. Again, lots of heat in the finish, along with soot, salt, pickled ginger and cherry lollipops.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1⅔ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose reads more like a solid piece now. Like Caol Ila 12 with the volume turned up and some sherry casktion added. Lots of ocean and beach notes, barbecue peat and a hint of figs. The palate's peat has become sweet and mellow. Burnt bacon, ginger candy, salt and figs. It finishes with salty bacon, ginger candy and figs.

It quickly became apparent that this is good deal better than Monday's official bottling as I tasted them side by side. It's a bit bigger and crazier when neat, and water pulls it together; and I'm left split about which version I prefer. It's probably about as good as one can do with a 9 year old refill sherry cask, so there's no reason to delay opening an unopened bottle of this, unless it's 100ºF outside or you have 100+ whiskies open already.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87

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