Colour: pale gold (phew).
Nose: and yet the sherry feels, but it’s rather a fino-ish kind of sherry, with plenty of walnuts and a lot, and mean really a lot, of tobacco. Both cigarettes and Cuban cigars. Wonderful whiffs of sunbathed stones on a Greek island (excuse me?), some earth, some camphor, old clothes in an old wardrobe, old books, then even more cigars… This is truly spectacular, but I’ve already seen such noses that led to a wrecked palate, so vorsicht! With water: it’s not the first time that I’ve thought that Caol Ila could be more medicinal than Laphroaig.
Mouth (neat): immense, huge, massive, and yet very elegant. The resins and saps are coming out, which is just perfect. With water: a little more fruits and sweetness to bring civilisation to this oldish beast. A good load of salt too.
Finish: long and extremely salty. Really very salty, was some manzanilla involved?
Comments: tells you many stories. The kind of bottle to buy these days.
Nose: Sweet fruit and heavy smoke - pineapple, green apple, and hints of tar and bung cloth. Brioche, butter and medicinal hints - swimming pools and fabric elastoplast. Wet blankets, spiced fruit cake and sugared raisins.
Palate: Thick on the palate and sweet to start, with heavy minerality and coal smoke following behind. Hints of rockpool brine, sweet lemon sherbert and green fern vegetality. Water knocks out some heat, revealing more minerality and some darker earthy notes.
Finish: Floral touches, candied lemon peel, coal dust and lingering sweet woody spice.
Comment: Restrained sherry notes and lots of freshness makes this quite a different beast to most Caol Ilas, sherried or not. The fruit and seaside notes are there, all backed up with sherry cask richness and spice.