We had to wait a long time for it (honestly, I thought that the series was coming to an end with number 10, bottled in 2018), but here it is: the Smoking Buffalo 11, in honor of the 2022 Cup Final win of KAA Gent, my local football club. It is once again a Caol Ila, this time distilled in 2013 and bottled at cask strength. I hurried to order it, not only to keep my Smoking Buffalo collection complete, but especially because I am very fond of this malt. In my opinion, you can never taste enough Caol Ila!
Delicious, but fairly atypical nose on spring roll sauce, ketchup and deep fried doughnut balls! What is this! Delicious! Oh, don't worry: the typical maritime features are present, as well as some slightly rotting oranges (no off-note!), wet rocks and the last diesel cloud of a mooring fishing boat whose old captain just shuts off the engine. With a few drops of water, Caol Ila's DNA is expressed a little more and it loses some of that funny spring roll sauce character.
On the palate it is a true taste feast! Smoky, salty versus sweet versus sweet and sour, I'm not kidding. Blood orange, grapefruit, baked apples and candied ginger against ashes, oyster juice, pepper and a good dollop of seawater. Nice and powerful, but I feel absolutely no need to add water to this, but I like to try it. Then it becomes a bit 'classic', just like on the nose, with more salty notes and more ashes. This was a bourbon barrel? Could have fooled me! Atypical, as I said.
The finish is in one word outstanding. Long, smoky, spicy, sweet and sour and brackish.
Bart and Jeroen have picked out another whopper. Oh, boy. I hurry to quickly order some more bottles. I'm going to go back to this a lot.