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Monday, 18 May 2009

Is this, or is this ain't an Islay?

It's all very exciting! I've received an email from our airline, confirming that it is less than five days until we fly out to Islay. Well, sort of. First off we must fly to Glasgow, where we pick up a hire car and drive north, then west, then south and finally settle for the evening in a small hotel just south of Kennacraig, ready to recharge our batteries for the morning ferry ride over to the isle. So what way to heighten the expectation of another 10 day trip to Scotland than with a wee dram of something from Islay. Newly purchased, I hastily cracked open a bottle of...

Caol Ila - Distillers Edition (Finished in Moscatel Cask) - 1995 - 43% - 70cl

Nose: Ginger, butter, hints of sea weed and some honeysuckle. Not at all like an islay!

Palate: This is where it gets very strange indeed. If you didn't put Caol Ila on the bottle, you'd be hard pressed to pin-point the region, let alone the distillery that this comes from. The Muscat takes the driving seat providing a sweetness you'd more commonly find in a sherry finish Spey. Not at all overpowering, there are limes, ginger ale, hints of peat smoke and salt. A very different experience for any Caol Ila fan.

Finish: Subtle red chillies, a touch of peat. The sweetness from the start hits the back of the mouth after a while. Fairly long for something so subtle.

Overall: It's like ginger beer mixed with salt and seaweed, which oddly throws up a combo which won't be to everyones taste but I found very drinkable. Roll on Islay!