Caol Ila 1981/2011 Thosop Handwritten Label
Time for sample three of Yapi’s High End Blind Tasting. We started of with a Strathmill, followed by a Macallan 10yo bottled in 1985. What could Bart (Yapi’s real name) have in store for us now? It turned out to be a highly satisfying trip to Islay.
Caol Ila 1981/2011 (50,6%, Thosop, 153 bts)
Nose: A little bit of peat, but that aroma quickly disappears to make room for fresh, farmy smells. Wet hay and soft wood smoke. I believe there’s also a hint of pepper. The nose ends on a fruitier note. Bitter grapefruit, melon, lemon zest and white wine gums.
Taste: Starts of dry accompanied by the taste of campfire. I needed a couple of sips to really get this whisky, but then it opened up beautifully. Minerals with soil and earthy tones. Again a little bit of pepper and peat. Lemon and grapefruit. With water some spices like mint and aniseed appear.
Finish: There’s the campfire again. Fruity (pear), wood and mint. Medium to long.
Give this some time and it will reward you. It has a very complex nose and a near perfect balance. This is not usually ‘my style’, but this one deserve a round of applause. My first guess for this whisky was a Bowmore, bottled at around 55% and aged for about 20 years. I had a hunch that there was also a small chance that this was a Brora. In both cases I turned out to be wrong. But what the hell, the quality of this whisky quickly makes me forget my defeat.
If you want to read someone else’s blind notes on this whisky, visit Matti’s blog The Lyne Arm.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.