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Named after distillery manager Billy Stitchell who retires this year, this bottling honours his 39 years at Caol Ila, following in the footsteps of four previous generations of his family! The eighth unpeated Caol Ila single malt from Diageo's Special Releases, it is taken from American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak casks.
Nose: Sweet and fairly innocuous at first. Hint of distant seaweed, citrus, chopped green apple. Some creamy fudge slowly develops.
Palate: Sawn wood, pine cones and some needles, those Haribo sweets that have the white bit on them (you know what I mean).
Finish: Wood spices, Rich Tea biscuits.
Overall: A lovely dram and an appropriate way to celebrate Billy Stitchell’s 39 years at the distillery.
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Does NOT go down smoothly!
20th December 2015
Some whiskies bloom in an opened bottle during a periodic sampling process, over a course of (generally) no more than 2-3 months...this most interesting dram transforms wildly...whether or not you love what it becomes, I strongly feel, depends on your dedication to how experienced your palate is...the first week after opening- I'd highly recommend this to just about anyone: the tantalizing nose matches the palate perfectly...Island grown pineapple, spicy ripe papaya on the entry...a most exciting ginger explosion in the long middle that settles down to cardamom...the mid-length finish (it's not short, just not 15+ minutes) is of green tea with mild clover honey. All of those notes are clearly defined and overall sweet/spicey/sweet- and of outstanding mouthwatering quality. (I rarely agree with tasting notes on the box but this is a definite exception...undertones throughout of candied oloroso, faint bananas, starfruit, chamomile, jasmine, and some florals- perhaps hibiscus. 8-21 days: oak rides alongside the fruit (without many typical oaky imparts...ie; dry/woody seems at odds...some of Caol Isla's lesser famous herbal notes come and go, along with a touch of old powdered cinnamon that's lost its vigor sitting on the spice rack too long (not unpleasant, but quite challenging)...week 3 and beyond: starting to feel more like an Islay - but with bourbon - like oaky imparts of chocolate, vanilla, and now (surprisingly) iodine has ever so slightly emerged...some sea salt...water added strengthens my suspicion that the American oak once geld some good bourbon. In summary, I love it for the outstanding pleasures it offers (that are hard to argue with), and also for the challenge it presents of mastering flavors that at times don't seem to want to come together. I feel it's 3 different whiskies in one bottle (depend on oxidization level). I've already bought a 2nd with special plans for whom to share it with. I also want a 3rd to hang onto, simply because this is very unique whiskey- and Billy's last release. Cheers!
9th March 2015
Nose: very sweet. I get honey. Palate: Very fiery (which it should be at this ABV) so add water. Honey carries over to the palate. Little peat (can't take the peat out of the Islay I guess). Imagine scotch date-raped Sauternes and this was the bastard child of that horrible night. Bananna, pineapple, smoked vanilla. Unfortunately, this doesn't quite come together harmoniously for me. It is worth seeking out to try, but I would have a hard time buying a bottle at this price.
25th April 2014
Starts off a bit sweet with hints of citrus. Then the peppery bit kicks in. It's good... Not great though.
30th March 2014