The Diageo Special Releases is a yearly party for whiskylovers in which Diageo launches some gems – albeit with a hefty pricetag – often malts that we rarely get to tasted and often – but not always – at a respectable age or special maturation. I had the pleasure to try a bunch at a special Diageo presentation in Antwerp recently. Let me share my thought, starting with this Caol Ila 15 Year Old Unpeated Style. Contrary to previous releases, this one matured on a combination of both American and European oak.
The nose is surprisingly sweet – more than I am used to from this expression – and very mild. Granny Smith apples, honey, juicy pears and vanilla. Just a hint of the sea. Some warm almond paste, liquorice and something umami that I cannot quite pinpoint.
It is immediately very piquant on the palate. Pepper, ginger, salt. Warm and fresh at the same time. Think big mint. Loads of honey, pine resin and a sudden surge of almost tropical fruit. Think apricots and lime. Nicely oily. Good!
The finish is very long, spicy, zesty and heart warming.
It is not my favorite Unpeated (that is still the 17 Year Old that was released in 2015), but it remains a grand dram that wraps you up. Around 100 EUR.