First Impression: Caol Ila Aged 15 Years “Unpeated Style”

[61.5%・15 Years Old・Bottled in 2016・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Quite spirity off the mark, juniper berries with an emphasis on the rawness; splashed with notes of blazed oak staves and brine solution.  Slight hint of green apples with a filtered whiff of coal smoke that makes its obligated entry but doesn’t quite give that thrilling sensation.

Palate & Finish:

Caramel driven with an introduction of anise and green apples, and the malt biscuit centre of maltesers.  A vigorous swing followed through with nutty and tannic notes.

It’s salty and grungy in the finish with the oak acting as a counterbalance that ropes in the hotness.

Thoughts:

I was told that the “unpeated” Caol Ila releases were endearingly nicknamed “Coal Ila”.  This 2016 release, however doesn’t quite resemble its predecessors.  It’s raw and untamed, but it lacks the smoky presence that first makes you wonder if the whisky is actually “unpeated” or not but then slowly captures your heart as the Caol Ila tragic in you gets immensely satisfied.

-Nicholas