Caol Ila 15 Year Old Unpeated (2016)
Pale gold with green lights. Fine, brief beading.
Unhurried, delicate and precise, offering little clue to the forceful palate. Fresh and squeaky-clean, opening with fresh green apple above a soft, creamy layer of toffee and malt. An acetic note gradually becomes increasingly maritime (salt, dried edible seaweed) and attractively spirity, with mint, hints of citrus (fresh lemon) and a drying gooseberry sharpness. Clean and cautiously defined throughout. Water introduces a softer, cooler note of freshly laundered cotton, with a whole fruit stall of fresh fruits plus hints of strawberry, caramel and resin.
Challenging and perhaps too powerful to really appreciate at natural strength, yet essentially fresh, light and spirited, with a sweet taste overall. There’s cooling menthol, sharp fruit, then lots of malt and toffee. Much more accessible when reduced with water, the taste now soft, lightly sweet and succulent; the fruity sweetness balanced by salt and slightly sour (as with bitter lemons). Ending chewy, with more fruit, barley sugar and mint.
Compelling, though still powerful! Deeply warming, with bracing late menthol and eucalyptus. Soft and smooth with water: shorter yet still warming and gingery, with a bitter fennel-like edge and an aftertaste evoking pistachio nuts.