Yes, this Caol ila is young but it’s part of the myths of the distillery. Matured in a sherry cask and selected by Diageo for its prestigious Manager’s Choice series, does this dram play the muscled peaty-sherry card ?
Nose : Regarding the sherry, we can’t say the monster has paid us a visit. The peat is dainty but fatty (salted butter) with sea spray notes and delicate wood smoke. Honey and orange liqueur are perfectly blended to bring softness to it whereas aromatic plants (oregano, coriander) bring lightness. It’s only now that the sherry component appears. If the orange (fresh juice) isn’t surprising, it’s very precise. It puts a bit of chocolate, of roasted dried fruits (macadamia nut, cashew nut) , of leather and roasted pineapple. Then, it becomes milky (whipped cream) which perfectly matches the profile. The peat shows a meaty patina (pork rib) and appears sufficiently playful, both invasive and preponderant for the nose balance, of which it’s the structure. It’s rich, fine and perfectly balanced. The opening offers a new impetus to the peat (barbecue fire starter, médicinal) and also puts the orange on a pedestal (fresh quarter) along with pecan pie, menthol and eucalyptus. Water doesn’t set up a new deal even if it’s more vivid. It’s really pleasant, fresh and light-hearted. We ask for more.
Mouth : we fall on our feet with, therefore, some wood smoke, barbecue smoke and burnt plants but the sugar is much more grown. The orange is again at the heart of our senses with a remarkable exactitude. It occupies the space and it is only looking for servant-flavors : milk chocolate, honey, hot milk with spices (cinnamon), salted butter caramel, oregano, thyme, menthol. The mouth is a mini-notch below but it’s still in the excellence field. Water allows it to fly away, offering amplitude to a well-thick mouth. The flavors don’t really change even if the the sweetness is slightly more perceptible and there is some bitterness (citrus zests). The mouth is immediate and accurate. Hello hedonism!
Finish : long, absolutely in keeping with the mouth, still with some orange but also dried fruits (almond, macadamia nut). The aftertaste carries smoke, caramelized orange and the fresh element (eucalyptus, menthol). Persistence isn’t explosive but pleasurable and lasting.