Blink and all of a sudden, you're nearly at the end of the month, with a head full of plans and plenty to be getting on with. I'm right in the thick of co-writing a brand new whisky book ('Let Me Tell You About Whisky') with the mighty Gavin Smith, the samples are racking up here and it's high time we got down to the business of looking at a few crackers to put on your late January/February wish list.
Duncan Taylor have come out of the traps early with a couple of new releases from their Dimensions range and what a way to start today off - a gorgeous looking (and smelling) Caol Ila from 1983...
Duncan Taylor - Dimensions - Caol Ila - 1983 vintage - 28 years old- Cask 3625 - 54.3%
(a note must be written on just how...erm... attractive this whisky looks. Colourwise, it is a rich bright copper. Not something we're usually concerned with, but in this instance, it needs to be noted!)
Nose: Not immediately what you would expect from a Caol Ila. Sweet smoked barbecued bananas, vanilla pods, some freshly turned earth, nutmeg, butterscotch sauce and a slight emergence of medicinal/coaltar soap. The smoke is very restrained, but wafting around somewhere in the background. Very nicely balanced indeed.
Palate: A little dry off the bat, but then into classic Caol Ila territory, sweet malty biscuits, a mouthful of sappy pine smoke and coal dust. Given a dash of water and some time, the richness of this dram comes to the fore: the vanillas take a more prominent position, with some cream soda notes and a hint of candied fruit.
Finish: Lengthy fruit sherbet notes, sit alongside the coal dust and a dollop of malt extract.
Overall: What a pleasant surprise. This is certainly a Caol Ila that delivers complexity, but plenty of direct, easy to read notes up front.
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