Here’s an unruly youth, an Old Malt Cask advance sample of Caol Ila bottled at five years old.
Nose: Oily maritime notes. Brine, tar, engine oil, and dirty, sooty, peat smoke.
Palate: Intense smoke dissolves into aromatic fruit. Pear-drops and lemon candy, with more waves of zesty peat. Very smooth and thick – almost chewy.
Finish: There’s those maritime notes we expect. Very mineral rich notes of sea salt, beaches and shells.
I’m a huge fan of this style of whisky. Cask strength, maritime, smoky whisky that hits you in the face like a stiff January breeze on the coast of Scotland.
In fact, this reminds me massively of the core flavour you get in Douglas Laing’s Big Peat, a really delicious vatted malt of Caol Ila, Arbeg, Bowmore and a splash of Port Ellen. If I had to guess the make-up of that vatting, I’d put my money on young Caol Ila making up the bulk of it.
And why not? It’s plentiful, cheap, and bloody delicious.
This was given to me as a Christmas gift, and try as I might I can’t find any information about it online. There’s quite a few other bottlings of five year old Caol Ila available though, so I recommend you give them a try if you can. Diageo recently stopped indy bottlings of Caol Ila, so I expect the only chance you have to try a five-year-old will soon be at the distillery on a premium tasting.