Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength - 59.3%

Nose: Earthy, damp leaves, wet embers, green twigs, TCP, salty seaweed, lime, smoked salmon, butter icing and a big box of crayons.

Palate: Oily and sweet with a billow of smoke. Hot and spicy chipotle sauce, charcoal bricks, a delightful coastal tang and a dollop of honey.

Finish: Long, smooth and spicy with a bracing salty blast, ashes, peat and more smoke.

Notes: What a way to start the new year and a perfect dram to see off the wild winds and freezing temperatures. This was my first bottle of Caol Ila and it took until now to realise it's this whisky which really gives the excellent Big Peat its character. Even at a whopping 59.3%, this is remarkably easy to drink. Water certainly mellows things, but why would you want to? A belter to kick-start 2014.


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