Caol Ila 2007 15 Year Old James Eadie RMW Amontillado 55.4%
Review by @RianC
This was a bottling by IB's James Eadie for Royal Mile Whiskies. 15 years old and finished for 13 months in a refill amontillado sherry cask made of European oak. No info. on the casks of the prior near 14 years, so I suspect a combo of ex bourbon and 'whisky' casks were employed.
I tend to really enjoy Coal Ila, and adore everything I've tasted that's been near an amontillado sherry cask, and so, as it was a store pick, I took a gamble. Price was almost £100 so it was a gamble for sure but one I was confident in taking ...
Review is with a couple of small drops of water to a 25 ml pour. Bottle half full and been open a good few months now and has been decanted at least twice.
Nose - Odd! I mean, it is. It's unlike any whisky I have ever had before. Familiar notes of herbs (sage, bay and thyme) and slight lemon come through as does quite a nose nipping nip of smoky, earthy peat. Then there's this sort of ... I'm a bit perplexed to be honest ... sour, off-wine and hops-like note that coats over and through the malt. With time, a dark chocolate note emerges. It's a freak! Not unpleasant but certainly off the wall.
Taste - we're a bit closer to what my brain understands whisky to be now: so a sweet lemony arrival with some faint dry sherry in the background. More herbs, distant smoke and ash, as it develops.
Finish - med -long. Ash, mild dryness and tannins and a slight sweet stickiness builds with each sip.
I have to be honest and say that when I first opened this I was unsure. When I first tasted it, I had the mental image of £100 flying into the gutter! In fairness, it desperately needed some air and it has worked wonders - mellowing out the more awkward notes and helping the finish settle down a tad.
This really is a 'Spaceball' whisky and is barely recognisable as a Caol Ila. I would also have no idea it was finished in an amontilldo cask from taste and smell alone.
My feeling is the refill cask had little left to offer and has perhaps not quite worked with the herbal nature of CI distillate. It was worth the gamble, but sometimes they just don't pay off. Again, I must stress, once it aired, it was not unpleasant, just bizarre. One can't simply sip away at this - it demands attention. I'm just not sure many would want to give it theirs! That said, it is definitely an intriguing dram that shows a new side to Coal Ila. How to mark ...
Be very interested to see how others find their samples. Maybe it's just me?!?!
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