We don’t normally comment on such things, but the legs on this dram are wild, like finding out that Julia Roberts used a body double in Pretty Woman—though that’d be more accurate if the body double’s legs were covered in syrup.
The nose jumps out at you, waving smoked figs. Maybe some other crazy berries, too. Green raspberries? Lemons starting to ferment on the inside? Anise seeds inside a halved, unripe boysenberry? It’s hard to say exactly. But there’s a freshness there as well, as though those fruits had just fallen through a well-ionized cloud.
The mouth is hot like the Australian outback. [John: Or like it’s over 59% abv.] And the viscosity is fantastic. At first, there’s a deeply perturbed lemon note. [Bill: the lemon is perturbed or the note is perturbed?!?] I meant the lemon: it’s a moody li’l cuss, moping in a coconut rind, wishing it was a Kylo Rind (it may be hard to believe, but some of the younger ones out there actually find Adam Driver sexy). There’s also molasses and burnt tarragon in there, if you must know. But all of that gets overwhelmed quickly by the crazy spiciness on the back end of the mouth. Wow! And we tried adding water, and it only made it spicier! This has to be the first whisky ever with a seven digit Scoville rating.
The finish just runs with the notes on the mouth like Roger Bannister at the 3/4 mile mark. It adds a couple of notes, though: cinnamon-spiked grapefruit pulp, spicy lemon pith, and a lifetime of memories of eating only coconuts and dying happy, despite the beriberi.
On the scale of Caol Ila Unpeated Special Releases—-
The Caol Ila 15 Year Old Unpeated 2018 Special Release is the spiciest–Other releases were lighter and many much fruitier, but my God, this one just blew the others out of the water when it came to spice. It’s a brooding, volatile, but passionate character with the dark glow of one steeped in warmer climes. Might be just what we all need after a long winter.
–Our thanks to Diageo for the sample!