Score: 9.3 / 10
Distillery: Caol Ila
Type: Islay Single Malt Scotch
Caol Ila is one of the oldest and currently largest distilleries on the isle of Islay near Port Askaig. Pronounced "Cull-Eela", which for us English speakers is unfortunate as it finally looked like how to actually say "Eye-la". I'm sure true scotch fans and Scots alike are tired of hearing the rest of the world try to pronounce Goidelic languages.
If you are going to tour Islay this is a must stop. One of the best scotch whisky brands and they are going to be around longer than all of us in the future as well.
My friend purchased this bottle at the Caol Ila distillery when he made the journey over to Scotland. It is one of his true special occasion bottles and he offered me a sample (what a generous chap!). So of course I'm going to write a review of it.
Nose: Brine infused peat (sea salt meets smoke), crisp green apples and pears with a touch of honey. Swirling the whisky in the glass unveils grilled pear and savory sage.
Palate: Very creamy and full of delicious green grapes (tastes almost like a Sauternes wine), honey, ripe pear during the first part of the drinking experience, then a burst of lemon citrus and fresh orange shines through which finally leads to cinnamon sticks, charred oak and a tangy barbecue spice.
This pour is lightly effervescent in its final stages. A subtle cigar smoke lingers in the background and accompanies all the flavors above throughout the drinking experience.
Finish: Long lingering and mildly tannic. Salty and savory like a smoked brisket or pulled pork. Light lemon zest remains on the sides of the mouth with plenty of persistent oak.
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Notes: Availability? Very Rare. Only 7600 bottles of this scotch were ever produced. Also, it's not cheap. You should expect to pay north of $500 for this one. This is only appropriate for a very special occasion.