To finish up prep for an upcoming tasting I’m running at The Feathers Pub, I ‘had’ to review some of these whiskies before hand to help people go through it.
Or at least I wanted to… but unfortunately the incorrect Caol Ila was poured.
At the end of each review set, I try to do an Islay. Partially because of something I call the Peat Barrier, which is an imaginary barrier one should not cross if they are going to have more whisky. Unless that whisky is also peated. And just as much.
The second reason is I’m a peat-a-holic. I love smoke infused peat things. They make me happy. I also smoke a turkey every year, have smoked a cheesecake (as I won’t shut up about), and use Ancho chili like it’s the cure for whatever my lazy ass has.
Suffice to say, you better believe I was finishing up the night of drinking with the Toronto Whisky Society, I had to end with an Islay. And because I’m self-centered, I made it one I’ve never had. Specifically the Caol Ila 15 Signatory Millennium Edition.
What’s that? Well for those of you who weren’t drinking in the year 2000, Signatory decided they would buy up a bunch of casks and release them in the new millennium. At least I think it was the new one. I can’t really remember, as I was blocking out that debate when I was in High School.
Suffice to say some of them are still floating around, like this one. A 15 year, not cask strength Caol Ila.
Sounds like a good addition to this Caol Ila kick I’ve had going on. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Distilled on: 27th November 1984
Bottled on: 26th June 2000
Cask Nos. 5732 + 33
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: Brine, white chocolate, brown sugar, cloves, leather, sandalwood
This is a well developed Islay. The peat has gone past the “tons of smoke that you love” point and has started on that “sweet, earth, cocoa, eat more chocolate” point.
It’s actually closer to a vegan chocolate chip, that has more brown sugar and less animal pieces. And milk. Quite nice.
Taste: Lemon sorbet, cinnamon buns, manure, plum, salt
The lower abv. is showing up in the drop down on the nose to the taste. There’s some far off fruit that have been washed out, and nice sorbet.
Good amount of spice here. Less chocolate than before. And no, I don’t eat manure. It’s the taste in my mouth when I go to a farm. And because I have cousins with farms, the smell isn’t a bad thing to me.
Finish: Red licorice, anise, grapefruit, caramel, maple sap, malt, cocoa
More fruit now. More chocolate again. Some tart notes, and a really sweet note. I’m sure this would have been too much at cask strength, but why not 46%? Could have had a lot more depth.
Still tasty though.
Conclusion: All around nice peated dram. It shows a complexity that is reserved for this type of age. All in all tasty, but I think the allure of smacking the year 2000 on something and selling it to be part of a craze, and then not making it a higher abv, has cost this one.
Some Caol Ila have too much smoke. Some too much earth. This one seems like it’s in the Goldilock’s zone, and we missed out. All because the year had a bunch of zeroes and a new number at the start of it.
Hope the year 3000 casks are CS.
Scotch reviews #550, Islay review #125, Whisky Network reviews #910