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Boy, is this whisky charismatic! There're some complex whiskies which are sophisticated, refined, really nicely matured, but they still lack a little something. It's like a person with a whole list of achievements, lots of diplomas, awards, but with no charm or character. They can potentially offer you a lot of stuff, however, they lack certain likeability which is really indescribable. Other people may not have all of the accolades, but there's something about them which makes you feel attracted to them for no obvious reasons. This is how I feel about this standard Caol Ila 12.
NOSE: it doesn't keep you waiting. Smoked paprika, burned oak, creamy, fresh fruits, vanilla and a touch of mint. Smoke and peat are in harmony with the fruit component, they don't dominate here, though. As it sits you also get notes of pickles, peaches, pears as well as medicinal notes and bonfire smoke. After about 15 minutes overripe bananas come to the forefront along with herbal, shoe polish, mothballs and brown sugar. Really, really satisfying! 23/25
TASTE: oily, slightly oaky with mineral damp earth, fruit and peppery dried herbs. A touch of peat and ash. The more it sits, the less dry it becomes, allowing fruit which is slightly astringent to reveal itself on the palate. 21/25
FINISH: slightly ashy, cigar ash, herbal, drying with big iodine component which lingers on. 21/25
OVERALL IMPRESSION: I think it's a very delicious whisky which is now one of my absolute favorites.