Looking at the paler colour of the third instalment in this blind tasting we’re taking quite a detour from the last samples. No sherry here! Opening the bottle, do I detect a whiff of peat? Let’s see what we can say about this one. edit: the whisky has been revealed to be a Caol Ila 30yo by Thosop.
In the nose the peat is obvious, but by no means dominant. Instead, I get white fruit in bundles: white grapes and lemon. Also heather, wet grass, vanilla and mint. I think we can safely say this was matured in ex-bourbon wood. Pencil shavings and dried white wood confirm those suspicions even more. With some water I get a marked increase in lemon and a distinct smell of ozone. With some more water and some time several sugary scents come out, marzipan among them. The nose reminds me in equal parts of Bowmore Tempest and Lagavulin 12 CS.
Into the taste then. This is definitely older, softer, tamed peat. Heather again, as well as chili’s (not something I taste often). Woody notes: white oak spices which develop into a strong note of cinnamon with some water. Fermenting grass (I know, sounds bad, actually is a nice touch). A mineral note. With even more water: woodsap, pear and the mint from the nose is back. The finish is modestly long, on liquorice root and vanilla.
Overall, this is a tasty older peated expression with a modicum of complexity. Nose and taste are balanced. For me, this is a whisky for a summer evening. One to drink more than one dram of. Not so much one to be analysed, but rather one to be enjoyed. I give it 88 points.
The guesses: 53% abv. An old (for a peated whisky) Islay whisky matured wholly in ex-bourbon casks. I’m thinking Bowmore, due to the grassy notes. 15-20 years old.
Caol Ila 30yo 50.6% Thosop Distilled in 1981 Bottled in 2011 ex-Bourbon cask
Another opinion on this sample can be found at Words of Whisky.