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Today I finished my working day sipping a glass of Caol Ila 12 yo kindly offered by my professor, so I remembered I still had a sample of their Natural Cask Strength edition and decided to give it a try, just to see how they compare. Here's my review!
Color and body: very light color, fino sherry according to the Connossr bar. I'm swirling the dram into the glass and watching at its long and thin legs.
Nose: sweet, with light but detectable alcohol, strong and aromatic peat. It also shows faint lemony notes. Mouthwatering!
Palate: very pungent and massive attack, it warms and coats your mouth. This start is followed by a pleasant sweetness, while some citrusy notes hit the sides of your tongue and, on breathing out, I can also feel a kind of nuttiness that I really like. And of course, peat and smoke at their best! It's a deeper, heartier version of the CI 12 (it should be younger though), but due to the high ABV the flavours are tightly intermingled, you need time to discern between them. But I can assure, it's well spent time! Adding water brings out more sweetness but curiously the alcohol attack becomes almost sharper, while the flavours are a bit flattened. I prefer it neat.
Finish: as always with this cask strength Islay malts, the finish stays with you forever, with peat and sweet warm notes and just a hint of liquorice. Satisfying!
Overall: this is a wonderful, quite complex whisky in spite of its age! If you like Islay malts, you should give it a try! (86/100)