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This edition is distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2011.
Nose: Chocolate covered raisins, beer, bitter citrus zest. Baked orchard fruit and cloves. Pencil shavings and sweet BBQ. There's a slight solvent edge that is both unfortunate and deceiving considering how easy-drinking this whisky is. The nose isn't as bright and fresh as the standard 12-year, but still engaging.
Taste: Typical Caol Ila arrival... quiet and overly mild mannered at first--sneaky--and then a wave of sweet wine and malt lets loose billows of smokey flavours and seaside notes. Over-ripe red fruits and cotton candy. Wood influence on this, again, isn't as bright as the standard 12 year. A white pepper note sustains throughout and into the...
Finish: Smoke, gingersnaps, black tea and stewed mint on the exhale. Tasty and enduring.
The thing I like particularly about Caol Ila is its ability to balance freshness with the bombastic smoke and peat of Islay. This expression looses much of that fresh quality with the Moscatel wine finish, and while it's still a tasty and interesting whisky... I much prefer Caol Ila nude, without any fancy finishes.