High Spirits Dranken is a Dutch importer, which imports, among other things, the releases of relative newcomer Claxton's from Scotland. It is therefore not surprising that a release was bottled especially for their Dutch importer. It was a particularly young Caol Ila from 2016 that matured in a bourbon barrel. It was released in the so-called 'Exclusives' series. It is particularly pale, suggesting that the refill hogshead has had little influence on the malt. I'm again expecting – hooray! – a relatively 'naked' Caol Ila.
Yes, this one is as naked as can be. The spirit sparkles with its notes of wet rocks, kelp and stockfish. But this one also has a pretty sweetness like vanilla. In terms of fruit, I have to think of apples and pears, but you need to look for it. This young Coal Ila has to rely mainly on the maritime note. And rubber boots and potato peels. So clean and sharp that you can shave with it! But it must be said: the alcohol – a good 59% – does not burn on the nose!
The body is nice and oily and the malt is immediate and inexorably maritime. Quite salty! Almost as if someone dropped a splash of brackish seawater into my glass that is embellished with white fruit, salted caramel and white pepper. This is very clean and a textbook example of how good young Caol Ila can be. Considerable smoke development as well.
The finish lasts wonderfully long and remains both sweet and peppery until the last moment. Surprising touch of sea salt and vanilla on the deathbed. It's a real battle between sweet and salty in the end.
If a whisky could be a sculpture, this would be it.