caol ila 2009 14 years 2201172 confessions of a whisky freak closeup review

Caol Ila 2009 14 Years (Confession of a Whisky Freak)

Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Confession of a Whisky Freak, a Dutch whisky blog, Robbert Harskamp recently bottled a Caol Ila 2009 14 Years. It matured in an ex-bourbon cask initially, before a 405-day finish in a first-fill Amontillado sherry cask.

The kind of person who isn’t just part of the whisky fabric, Robbert actively expands and strengthens it. Always cheerful, often inquisitive and happiest when sharing whisky. As an example, just read this article about the kind of relationship he has with his mailman. Robbert is an asset to the Dutch whisky community.

Is his whisky an asset too? I mean, you really can’t ever go wrong with Caol Ila, maybe the most consistently good whisky produced in Scotland. The biggest distillery on Islay, generally overshadowed by many of the other distilleries there, but I wouldn’t say overlooked. There’s just so many independently bottled Caol Ila available, you can’t escape it.

Come to think of it, this particular cask was split with German independent bottler The Caskhound.

caol ila 2009 14 years 2201172 confessions of a whisky freak closeup

Caol Ila 2009 14 Years (54.7%, Confession of a Whisky Freak, C#2201172)

Nose: Hints of polished oak, some rhubarb and gentle orange peels, as well as hazelnuts, ashes, tobacco and a sliver of red fruits and ice caking. The smoke is much more considerate than I expected. There’s also a whiff of eucalyptus and mead.
Taste: The nutty character takes centre stage at first—cashews and walnut skins mainly. It’s drying with a fair bit of tannins, but there are also notes of charcoal, some mushrooms and a drop of honey, as well as camphor.
Finish: Medium to long. Some oak, burnt toast and campfire notes. Also a syrupy sweetness.

The effect of the ex-Amontillado cask has been significant. I wonder what this Caol Ila was like before it was finished. It must've been solid if not already really good. After all, this is Caol Ila we're talking about. Did the ex-Manzanilla cask improve the spirit? Regardless, this is good stuff. Slightly different than many other Caol Ila of a similar age, which I would say is a good thing. Congrats on your 5th Anniversary, Robbert!

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