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The oldest-ever whisky in the unpeated series from Caol Ila, an 18-year-old single malt with memorable fruitiness. Excellent as an aperitif and recommended to be served with a drop of water, this dram offers delicious aromas of lemon and egg custard, followed by flavours of freshly baked apple pies and a spiced pastry finish.Tasting Notes (2)
- Black Pepper
Tasting notes by Billy Abbott (The Whisky Exchange)
Pine and pastry: Christmas biscuits hanging from the tree. Herbal notes run through the middle with black pepper and a hint of sea spray. Water amplifies the maritime notes and pulls back the pine to reveal sweet apple sauce and cinnamon sugar.
Softer than expected from the nose, with chocolate-covered caramel digestives, Garibaldi biscuits and apple sauce to begin. A big grind of black pepper pops up in the middle of the palate, followed by stewed peaches and honey. Sweetness builds, backed up by a wisp of smoke, leading to a plateau of fragrant apple blossom, apples and honeysuckle. Water brings out more fruit and a piny sherbert tingle.
Intense apple with hints of bacon. Toffee and black pepper slowly fade to leave chocolate.
A surprisingly restrained Caol Ila, but with layers of complexity. The distillery never quite gets rid of all the smoke when they switch to unpeated spirit and the lick of peat at the back helps balance everything.
Tasting notes from the producer
Pale yellow gold.
Surprisingly weighty, with a meaty backbone that doesn't rely on the distillery's usual smoke for depth. Initially sharp and prickly, the first impression is of lemon zest, edging towards lemon drizzle cake and lemon sherbet sweets, or perhaps honeysuckle, vanilla cream and egg custard, along with toffee, green-leaf herbs, fruit gums and soft spiciness. Later, a dry minerality builds in the glass, adding a chalk and flint austerity. The addition of water softens the nose and adds fleeting scents of pine-sap and artist’s studio, against a maritime background.
Weighty, with fast running legs.
The taste is sweet (boiled sweets), acidic (bitter lemon) and salty, walking a knife edge between all three. Occasionally it slips into sour orchard and sweet candied fruit, then into intense salted caramel and toffee. Hints of sea-spray dance the edges, along with barrel-char smokiness, oak, black-pepper spiciness and fresh clean notes. Finally, the fruit and char unite in triumph, as fresh-baked apple pies. Water amplifies both fruit and spice, with liquorice and orange zest, the spice gaining heat and a hint of chilli. With water, these primary tastes soften yet remain clear, becoming more rounded and accessible.
Warming, soft and long, with notes of vanilla and spiced pastry, succeeded by aniseed, polished oak, bittersweet liquorice and a last burst of red berries, which fades to soft spice, sweetness and oak.
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Just a superb whisky. Caol ila is Quickly becoming one of my favourite distillery’s. This is 59.8% yet it’s smooth enough to drink neat. If you add a little water the nose and flavours intensify dramatically. On the nose you get sweet citrus & Sharp fruits, morning dew, damp soil, vanilla, spices. The taste is intense, salty bursts, sweet, sour, spice, custard. There’s more, but my pallet isn’t experienced enough yet to pick them out. The finish is long, a hint of background smoke appears at last, very subtle though, sweetness, bitterness, chocolate, warming spices. It’s beautifully complex.
Fantastic, tried it with other Diageo releases including the Port Ellen 37 year old, and this was better!!
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