Nose: subtle, complex. Right from the first nose, it is clear we are in the presence of a supreme Caol Ila. Oily (olive), smoky, ashy, salty, seaweedy and yet fruity (pear, apple), lemony, freshly herbaceous (sage, verbena) and even honeyed, the aromatic palette is impressively natural and overflowing with truth. Allowed to breathe, it becomes even more complex and takes on an exotic register (pineapple, banana, lichee). Exceptional.
Palate: sharp, distinguished. The attack focuses first on noble spices (pepper, star anise, nutmeg). Next, a particularly smooth and fruity peat coats the taste buds. Gradually, nuts (walnut, almond) and white fruits (William’s pear, Golden Delicious apple) peppered with a delicious curry bring lots of personality to the mid-palate. Little by little, smoke rings float across the bright end of the palate.
Finish: long, serene. The slightly medicinal (ointment, mustard seed) start of the finish is extremely mineral (pencil lead). Resolutely herbaceous, smoky and rich (dark chocolate), it reveals a remarkably fresh expression. With time, heady florals (hyacinth, tuberose) fragrance the very end of the palate. On the retro-nasal olfaction, peat comes galloping back. Gradually it crumbles to take us closer to the water’s edge. From then on, this version’s marine character definitively takes the reins. The empty glass is medicinal, ashy and meaty (smoky bacon).