Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Ultimate Caol Ila 1996 15yo single cask

20140405-20140405145438-IMG_4095_smallCaol Ila, one of famous Islay smoky and peaty drams. They are filled with smoke and sea and their normal 12yo range is a excellent Scotch to spend an evening with. Combining that with the Ultimate independent bottler, who’s previous experiment with Caol Ila was reaching the undiscovered country of space and time. My article about that is found here:  but please note that it’s in Finnish. Let’s just say it was a very ultimate experience: raw and powerful, yet tasty and had a big punch of force.

Now, this one is a much more easier fellow. Single cask (248/388), 15 years old (Hogshead maturing) and bottled in 46%. Distilled 3.9.1996 and bottled 28.5.2012. Cask number 12561. And that’s all the information there is. Except, that it is a very nice dram.

This is quite a light in it’s color. The magic of whisky is there. It really depends on my mood, when I like the dark hues or these light vibrations. All the same: it is about the nose, palate and after taste and not about how it looks on the glass. Except, that is a moment when you can tell a tale or lead the company onto new world.

The nose is smoky. There is pepper and peat. But the smokiness is marvelous! This one is clearly from the category “of smokes”. Very prominent. Old and new smoke, like a often used fireplace. A sauna at the moment when you just lit fire on those woods and before the chimney takes it in, you get the nice soot smoke of a birch bark. Peat nicely adds to the smoke, bringing it more depth – even before tasting.


The palate is strong in character but lacks the alcohol fire. Smoke and tar fills your mouth, along with peat fieriness crawling in. Pepperness is clear. Salt of the big waves and harshness of Islay wind ride the flame here. Oily and wide open. Burning salt peat coals remain in the mouth, after the storm passes.


The aftertaste is a bit bitter and smoldered. This would not be a series finisher – nor a starter – but drams like this brave soul are what are easily used to demonstrate what is a “smoke whisky”. Not too harsh on power, but lots of character and wideness. This does not have layers of tastes, but instead there is a well constructed labyrinth of mystery, that will reveal it’s secrets when you just get onto it. This is not a ultimate whisky in the sense of power, but as a experience where a world opens and reveal’s one of it’s many facets. A definite Islay!

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