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Caol Ila 18 Year Old Unpeated (Special Release 2017) Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 59.8%
The 18 year old marks the eleventh limited edition release of unpeated Caol Ila and the oldest so far. On several occasions tasters have found it to be one of the more compelling whiskies in the collection - and certainly one of the better values.Tasting note: Matured in refill American oak hogsheads. Polished gold. Initially lean and restrained with low-key peat, in fact, none at all – instead we gradually get a bouquet that leans towards oak shavings, bitter cocoa, unripe citrus. More assertive in the mouth with spice and fruit flavours: dried pineapple? Pear? Light cocoa and vanilla too. The biscuity malt seems deceptively simple. Evolving texture, the finish is thick, oily, warming and finally, delicious. 59.8% Alc./Vol. Other reviews… This unpeated version of Caol Ila was matured in refill American oak hogsheads. The nose is quite reticent, with subtle vanilla and milk chocolate notes. Big, fizzy-sweet fruit notes on the palate, with caramel, rock pools, hot spices, plain chocolate, and very mild wood smoke. Bubble gum and peppery chocolate in the medium-length finish.
88 points - whiskyadvocate.com, Reviewed by: Gavin Smith (Winter 2017) ...I’ve not been a huge fan of these ‘unpeated’ Caol Ilas so far. But at 18 years of age, let’s see... Colour: Light gold. Nose: There is a richness at first which comes across as quite surprisingly buttery and fulsome with a nervous coastal edge creeping in behind it. I’m always amazed at how these bottlings can still ‘feel’ very much like Caol Ila even without the usual heft of medicine. This one becomes green, lively and gravely with a tempestuous minerality. Some fresh lemon juice, an oyster or two, sea greens and cow sheds in the background lending a nice farmy balance to the muscular coastal side. Still more notes of hay, leather, hessian and coal hearths emerge. I’m really liking this so far. With water: olive oil, an old car engine, cactus flesh, salted fish. Mouth: Cured bacon, pine sap, sandalwood, heather, a carbolic edge and some mercurochrome hinting at a seemingly irrepressible medicinal quality. Notes of turf, Mezcal and preserved lemons in brine with a wood ash note in the background. With water: a teaspoon of soft, green, lemony peat on the tongue along with a eucalyptus lozenge and a sprig of gorse and some dried seaweed. Finish: Long! Full of coastal vigour, lemon oil, shellfish and soft green fruits. There’s a slight tartness as well which keeps things alive and fresh, almost like a good sour beer. I like it a lot! Comments: By far my favourite of these unpeated releases so far. I recall earlier ones being brutally strong. I suspect this one works because of the age, perhaps this style of Caol Ila really needs a decent length of maturation to come into its own. I’m not sure how long Diageo have been making this style but I suspect this at about 25 years of age could be something very special indeed. Here’s hoping...
89 points - www.whiskyfun.com