Friday, 2 March 2018

Caol Ila Cask Strength & 1991 Signatory Reviews (Bottled 2007)

Hi everyone,

Back in my favourite whisky bar in Chamonix, France (it’s the only whisky bar in Chamonix, France) I thought I’d have a crack at that rare 1970 Bruichladdich up on the top shelf. But then I remembered that I brought my wife and she wouldn’t let me blow 50 euros on one shot of whisky. (it was a double! Come on.)
So the cheap stuff it was for me. Luckily they had some other really interesting stuff and I ended up trying these Caol Ila’s, only realising afterwards that they were released the same year.

Caol Ila 1991 Signatory 46%
Colour: Straw
Body: Medium
Nose: Quite light on the smoke, more maritime and oily, and pretty complex, quite savoury tobacco, wet leather, beach campfire, some cigar smoke, neoprene wetsuit. Then a little fresh melon with time. Smells much older than its 16 years.
Taste: Soft start, lacking a bit of power then very salty with some sour lemon juice, green apple and smoky minerality, spices then coming in with some ginger and a little light pepper but not as complex as the nose suggested.
Finish: Medium/Long length. A little zesty with nice spice, paprika and lemon.
From Hogsheads, bottled back in 2007 at 16 years old. Great great nose, taste and finish don't follow up unfortunately.
76/100
 
Caol Ila Cask Strength 59.6%
Colour: Straw
Body: Full
Nose: Intense! Seriously smoky, creamy, medicinal and mineral. Elements of lots of Islay distilleries in here actually but Kilchoman comes to mind the most. Calpol cough syrup like some Laphroaig's, seashells.
Water: Ooo some meaty notes emerge, Gingseng tea, earthy, more ethereal though.
Taste: Soft start for the abv, then very very mineral like a big Kilchoman, salty and maritime, intensely smoky, slightly medicinal and creamy, oily lemon, some wool weirdly then more perfumed but still powerful smoke and lemon citrus. A little spicy with some ginger into the finish.
Water: Softer, more salty, then more spicy with ginger and hot white pepper which unbalances it.
Finish: Long length. Intense initially with mineral, lemon, some ginger snaps and a little white pepper.
No bottling code but Whiskybase tells me bottled 2007. Potent stuff with much more smoke than expected from a Caol Ila, not young either despite the NAS. And despite the strength, it doesn't improve with water I'd say. A great find at the back of the shelf.
79/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #571-#572
Whisky Network Reviews #676-#677

Network Average: 74.7
Best Score: 93
Worst Score: 22
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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