Welcome to day 20. Right into the heart of the Christmas season we bring together for the first time a combination of first fill Oloroso and Caol Ila Single Malt. For any of you that have done some of the past editions you would have tried several delicious Caol Ila casks from Secret Spirits and other independents. In 6 years of searching I had never been able to access this combination until now. The first time we had a Caol Ila was way back in our 2nd edition from A.D. Rattray. The 4th edition held the first single cask of Caol Ila from Secret Spirits. It went down so well we found another one for the 5th edition from Secret Spirits that became known as Smoldering Secrets. This is now the 4th time we have showcased a single barrel from this distillery and they have all been quite unique.
Caol Ila is owned by industry giant Diageo and makes up the backbone of their peaty needs for the Johnnie Walker range. Founded in 1846 it has changed hands many times and seen some closures including during the second World War when due to barley shortages most distilleries ceased operations. Caol Ila is taken from the Gaelic Caol Ìle for “sound of Islay” refering to the location of the distillery overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura. Caol Ila makes more whisky than all of the other distilleries on Islay combined.
Secret Spirits Caol Ila Single Malt 7 Year Old – Islay – 1st Fill Oloroso # 1710 – 55.5% abv
Colour: Polished teak.
Nose: Christmas glazed smoked bone in ham. There is salt, something dark and tropical like pineapple reduction. Drunken cranberries. Medicine chest, pork crackling, olive tapenade and fig jam.
Palate: Yep this is awesome and spot on with the 55.5%. Still plenty of room to play for most of you but I’m loving it just as it is. Fruits of the forest like damp blackberries still clinging to the dank musty ground. The Christmas ham is there too with a healthy dose of caramelization after the whole thing is doused in whisky and set alight. Medicinal still and very palate coating. So many layers to explore here. I’m looking forward to seeing how our Youtubers go with the water they will add.
Finish: Christmas spices peek through at the finish with nutmeg and cinnamon, chives and sour cherry.
For some the dark and dangerous side of Islay is best served after some years in a sherry cask. This is a great example of a mere 7 years in Oloroso having such an incredible impact and giving us a whisky ahead of it’s time.
For day 20 in our 5th edition we had the Stones of Stenness (Highland Park) 18 year old from Single Cask Nation.
Shame on you if you have not as yet watched, subscribed, liked and even joined patreon for our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.
Tomorrow we are off to Speyside for something special from our friends at Wemyss Malts and a distillery I particularly enjoy.
5 drams to go. How has the adventure been for you so far? I hope it has stretched your way of thinking about Scotch Whisky and that you enjoy an even wider range of flavors than you did before.
Looking forward to your company tomorrow.