It took about a year or so, but Torsten Paul Zimmerman finally released his third whisky. Not just any whisky: a 13-year-old Caol Ila from a bourbon hogshead. He sent out bottles to all kinds of folk—including me—even though my review of his first two releases (while universally well received) wasn’t overtly positive. Sometimes that means you never hear from a bottler or producer again—but not Torsten.
I barely know Torsten and I’ve only met him once, but just from my limited experience with him I can tell he has a supremely positive attitude and is extremely well-liked across the board. He’s also a very honest person and has repeatedly shared with me that his journey as an independent bottler is very much a learning process. Which is why he actually valued my earlier reviews and encouraged me to publish them. I just can’t not respect that. In short: Torsten is just someone you root for.
Caol Ila 2007 13 Years (54.5%, Torsten Paul Whisky Company, C#302477)
Nose: Clean, coastal and crisp—as is to be expected from Caol Ila. Whispers of sauerkraut and vanilla pods, supported by vegetal peat, nori and olive brine. Plenty of mush bananas, a touch of limoncello, and some dried herbs, but also mineral qualities like wet pebbles. Finally even some honey. Taste: A creamy and velvety mouthfeel. The arrival is classic Caol Ila and rather salty and coastal, along with notes of petrol, camphor and tar. Also somewhat bready and there’s a tinge of spice as well as green olives. Finish: A pinch of green pepper, smoked kippers. Oily and long.
A mature example of a young-ish Caol Ila, this is a great pick by Torsten and surprisingly affordable—I’ve seen Caol from the late 2000s go for much higher prices. If you’re into this kind of whisky, head on over to Whiskybase. I can’t imagine it’ll last long.
Finally, if this is the kind of “learning curve” we can expect from Torsten, I can’t wait for hist next bottling.