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Bottled 2015, one of G&M’s private editions where they decided to try finishing Caol Ila in a Hermitage Cask. Having never tried hermitage wine, I thought it would be a fun adventure. Batch size of 3600 bottles.
Nose: Sweet and fruity (think strawberry jam fruity) smoke. Islay brine. It’s a relatively heavy nose but yet it seems to have that hint of light Caol Ila citrus. Oxymoron I know - light and heavy at the same time, but if you think of the 12 year’s nose weighed in with smoked strawberry jam, I think that’s an accurate depiction of what you’d get. Some sleight feinty/flintiness to it... like those ol tin fire starters you’d use when camping. Coming back to nose between sips gives me an aroma that reminds me of my mother’s raisin butter tarts.
Palate: Something kind of buttery. Could be the thought of butter tarts creeping into my head, nice and oily mouth feel. Pepper. Smoky herbal strawberry jam. It’s weird, but pleasant. Almost something minty.
Finish: ah, now there’s a bit more of the caol ila peat we know and love. Some herbalness - kind of like the last herbal tea I had when visiting this hipster tea shop in my area where the vendor said there was something called rooibas in there. Is that what we’ve got? Can’t tell, but memories of the tea leap to mind.
This is a fun one. Can’t say it blew my mind, but it was a fun experience. It made me think and take my time. Love it when a dram forces you to slow down. Caol Ila is normally a light and citrusy take from Islay, I’m partial to the 12 so that’s where my benchmark starts when I evaluate one such as this. Was worried that the wine finish would detract from the experience, but in this case I’m not too bothered by it. It makes it different, it made it fun. G&M didn’t overdo it with the wine finish, I’d say they tried to be daring with just a bit of restraint. Pretty cool altogether.