My favourite distillery on Islay is celebrating its 175th anniversary in style, with a 24-year-old release at cask strength. The 3,000 available bottles were sold out in the blink of an eye and I unfortunately missed them. But luckily there is my whisky gabber Manny who was able to give me a sample. Hurrah! The nose is particularly maritime on smoked shrimp, seaweed, a fishing boat that just docks in a rain-swept harbour with a soft diesel roller of the engine. Cold axles. In addition, some white fruit sprinkled with some olive oil and a hint of freshly baked bread. Excellent! Deliciously oily and mouth-filling with an immediate powerful stimulation of the alcohol. Brackish water comes first, followed by white pepper and licorice. Nice smoke development. Nice and powerful, but not spicy. The alcohol is well integrated. Lemon juice appears, supplemented with a hint of almonds and dried mango. The finish is sweet on a cartload of vanilla, followed by some white fruit, ashes and a deliciously salty touch on the deathbed. It remains mighty smoky until the very last moment. A very maritime Caol Ila, at the same time very powerful and tough. This one is great, so the hunt for a bottle is open. Thank you for the beautiful sample, Manny. Oh, yes, for those who wonder what the title means: that's the year in which Caol Ila was resurrected, so 175 years ago.