[Review] Caol Ila - 9 years old Whisky Broker 57.4%

Caol Ila has been my first proper single malt and it still holds a special place in with whisky cabinet. The 12 has always been a benchmark for me, the Distiller's Edition for something a little sweeter and the 18 a bit of a treat. I have just managed to (finally) get hold of the 25 and have been exploring many independent bottles of Caol Ila too.

I have tried Caol Ila matured in ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry, ex-Moscatel casks, so when Whisky Broker releases 3 casks of Caol Ila aged in 3 different Red wine barriques, I knew I had to pick up some. I actually bought 2 bottles from 2 different casks.

As for Whisky Broker, I love their bottling philosophy as there is no nonsense packaging or labelling, it is all about the whisky, sold at a very reasonable price too! What's not to like here?!

So what about this bottle? The whisky was aged for 9 years in an ex-red wine barrique (Nb 300755). It was filled on 05/12/2010 and bottled on 06/05/2020, of course with no chillfiltration or colouring and at the natural cask strength of 57.4%. The colour is a nice deep amber.

My tasting notes:

The first notes I got were quite funky with mossy forest floor, damp wood, some ash, smoke, bread dough, Morbier cheese, but after a little while, you start seeing a sweeter, fruitier side to it with some dark fruit notes, raisins, spicy honey, some tannins, toffee, M&Ms, all that wrapped in herby coriander notes. What a start!

Citric on arrival quickly shifting into earthy and salty, with seaweed and oak. Quite vegetal too, still some coriander, oak and again the fruitiness from the barrique comes out to play with caramel, honey and dried fruit. The peat smoke is still here!

Nutty, ashy, salty, earthy, slightly spicy and rather big and long! Like chewing on a piece of damp oak wrapped in seaweed, dipped in honey while sitting next to a smoky campfire! Might sound disgusting to some but I am loving it!

With water:
The nose becomes more savoury with some barbecued meat notes, the palate gets sweeter and loses some of the citric elements. The finish is warming and sweeter too.

Wow, what a dram. I guess it would not suit a whisky beginner or be to everyone's taste but it really works for me with a fantastic array of rather intense but delicious flavours! I will be curious to compare it to my other bottle from a sister cask...

Slàinte all!


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