Caol Ila 2001 Gordon & MacPhail Hermitage Wood Finish

Caol Ila Gordon & MacPhail Hermitage 2001 2.jpg

Thanks to /u/devoz for the bottle split on this one.

So why haven’t I posted in awhile? Well I was sick. And then busy. And then sick again. Then potentially super sick. Followed by generally being worn out.

Oh, and I’m addicted to multiple shows and Heartstone and got in new video games and who can forget it was my anniversary recently too and I’m still running a pretty successful Pathfinder campaign and…

Well who really gives a shit. I’m back. To reviewing at least. I can taste things again, and can drink in the evenings.

Was getting worried there for a bit. The lack of alcohol mixed with the lack of writing was causing some health issues.

And how am I coming back? Why with Caol Ila 2001 Gordon & MacPhail Hermitage Wood Finish, of course. An independently bottled Islay that brought to you by Gordon & MacPhail. Who have their ups and downs.

Down? Chill Filtering. Kinda sad, but still happens. Oh well. Won’t dwell on it.

Ups? Well you might be wondering what a Hermitage Wood is. Or trying to figure out if hermits are made in casks and they can be drank and thus why we don’t have them anymore.

Some quick Googling tells me that’s insane and I’m incorrect about it. Guigal Hermitage is a red wine from the Rhone Valley in France. E. Guigal is the winery. I really don’t know what kind of grapes they are, and Google already hurt my feelings once, so perhaps I’ll let someone more knowledgeable reply and school me.

So, I’m back, I’ve opened a partial bottle I bought, and I’m ready to go. Missing anything?

Probably not. Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Shit, forgot a dick joke.

Caol Ila Gordon & MacPhail Hermitage 2001 1.jpg

Price: N/A in Ontario

Region: Islay

Distilled: 29/08/2001

Bottled: April 2015

Cask Type: 1st Fill Guigal Hermitage Casks

Abv: 45%

Colour: 5YR 7/8

Nose: Peppered beef, anise, strawberry, green vegetal, manure, mint, watermelon

Really interesting nose. It’s fruity yet meaty. Haven’t had something like this since I made a turkey fruit stir-fry in University.

Reminds me of a watermelon gazpacho soup. Though it’s smokey, it’s a good summer dram.

Taste: Pepper, mint, watermelon, rosemary, smoked paprika, peach

Less complex on the taste then the nose, but still quite nice. It becomes more and more herbal as time goes on.

I’d say that this is a more relaxed Caol Ila that did well with the finish on it. Without it, I’d hesitate to try this at this Abv.

Finish: Green bell pepper, arugula, lemon, menthol, unripe mango, smoke

Really odd finish. There’s more earth to it, and lots more smoke. I wasn’t expecting this.

Not for nothing, I wish some of the red fruit elements were here. There’s some tartness, but not enough to really add to the smoke, thus detracting this from other Red Wine/Islay combos out there.

Conclusion: Amazing nose, good taste, odd, not so happy finish. I’m happy I tried it, but I think there’s some room for growth.

Maybe, just maybe, this needed to be a higher Abv, though I’m not 100% sold on that. Perhaps they sacrificed the finish on it to give the great nose and taste. And for what it’s worth, the finish would be heaven for an earth junky. Or Earth for an earth junky. Use your own ideas.

For me, it was a little too left field. None the less, this is a solid dram, and worth finding, if you can.

81/100

Scotch review #451, Islay review #92, Whisky Network review #728

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