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Caol Ila Sweet & Smoky


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@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

20th Feb 2022


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Not so long ago (March 2020) I tasted the Caol Ila Smoke & Sherry from The Cooper's Choice, just like this one a NAS Caol Ila matured on sherry cask. I expect that this Sweet & Smoky – also at cask strength – will be of the same quality. Cooper's Choice is a label of the Vintage Malt Company. The pink appearance of this dram is due to the finish on a Ruby Port Pipe.

Let me start by saying that Caol Ila's DNA is already unmistakable. Seaweed, stockfish, citrus, sweet and sour peat, all fine. A sauce of red fruit was poured over it, it seems. Strawberries, raspberries and something sweet... think red lace candy. There are also some dirty notes. Think cowhide, smoked ham, roast beef and cloves. It works like a charm.

Soft and creamy, despite the not inconsiderable ABV. It is a battle of sweet versus salty, while at the same time a considerable smoke development develops. Red fruit in the form of strawberry jam goes up against lacquered ribs on the BBQ, cloves and – don't laugh – rhubarb jam. How tasty and complex this is. But midpalate Caol Ila itself steps in to put the finishing on it with a big salty touch. I would almost forget to mention the spiciness, but it is grand: cloves, oregano and a big pinch of table salt. It goes up and down between sweet and salty like a yo-yo.

The finish is excellent. It lasts forever and keeps the middle ground between salty and sweet, while the smoke constantly lingers.

Wow, just wow. Thank you, Benny, for the sample.

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