This is an independent bottling of Caol Ila, the largest Islay distillery. A lot of Caol Ila’s stuff goes to making blends, particularly it gives the smoky character to the Johnnie walker blends. There are some fantastic independent bottlings of Caol Ila, however this is the first time I’ll be trying something similar in age to the 12 year old original bottling that serves as the core expression.
Maltbarn is a relatively small bottler from Germany, known for good quality, albeit somewhat pricey bottlings.
Aged 14 years. 58.8%ABV. Matured in a sherry cask. No colour added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.
Nose: Very much a Caol Ila. Salty, mineral peat. Bonfire ash. Citric acid. Slight hint of musty old books (refill sherry?). Earthy green herbs, fennel, thyme, sage. Treated thatch roofing. There’s a slight woody sweetness hiding under all the layers as well.
Palate: Sharp salt and mineral peat. Lemon bitters. Quite a creamy mouthfeel. Some porridge notes. Citrus oil. Sandalwood. Some caramel candies.
Finish: Long. Peat. Ash. Oil smoke. Lemon rind. Brown sugar.
Rating: Try this
Global VFM: 2/5
Local VFM: N/A
This was had a lot of the standard Caol Ila profile, but had a lot more kick and complexity to it on account of being cask strength and without chill filtration. The sherry influence was barely noticeable so probably a refill cask, but a good one. Just a tad on the pricey side of things at around 115 Euros on the EU market.