The Caol Ila 14 Year, cask strength, 2012 Limited Edition, “unpeated style” raises naturally the question of why Caol Ila would make an unpeated whisky. It’s like Ford selling a foot-powered vehicle, à la Fred Flintstone, or Boeing selling a jet designed to mine iron ore. In other words, we approached this leerily, the Malt Skeptics, preparing for chagrin rather than charcoal. (Or should I say, “Char-caol ila”? No? Okay.) When first nosing it, the reason why became clear: So that they could capture essence of banana soufflé with nutmeg shavings and bottle it as aftershave for actors and actresses in gritty sundry Planet of the Apes reboots. Also: a trout bucket used to hold brass player-kazoos (like player-pianos) tootling bourbon notes. Art gum eraser with the gritty sundry residue left curled up on it after a disgruntled curator used it to erase the “awkward lines” of a Michelangelo sketch that offended her aesthetic sensibilities.
On the mouth, unignited napalm coated unicorn hooves, after prancing through the Kentucky Derby infield. A little carpet—but NOT an area rug. (The carpet in question is the nine month labor of a disaffected mid-Western performance artist who worked on it in a plexiglass cube suspended over the lobby of a Hyatt. It was made from reclaimed mango rinds, recycled llama rugs, and dromedary saddles.)
The finish is like the Olympics without archery. It’s a kickball deflated, but not from lack of air, but rather lack of meaning. “Ce n’est pas un whisky tourbé.” Cherry pepper without the heat, satellites not in orbit, wah-wah pedals missing one or both “wah’s,” but still, a glorious anthology of unironical O. Henry short stories.
–On the scale of additions by subtraction–
The Caol Ila 14 Year Old Unpeated Style 2012 Limited Edition is getting Ernest Hemingway to rewrite your annual report that’s due in three days–The sentences are short. The sentiments are few. The ideas are clarified, and your boss appreciates the brevity. ¡Olé!
Our thanks to Leah Eagel, Alex Conway and Diageo for the sample!