I purchased this 200 ml bottle of Caol Ila 14 at the Edinburgh Cadenhead’s shop this June. It is one in their popular series of “cage” cask samples. Limited numbers of these 200 ml bottles show up in the Cadenhead’s shops every week and sell out immediately (from what I can make out). I’m not sure what the story behind these is. Are they true cask samples? Leftover bits from their single cask or small batch releases? A bit from column A and a bit from column B? If you know more, do write in below. All I know is that these are very enticing indeed and priced very fairly and entirely by age range, regardless of distillery of origin. I’ve gone so far on Twitter as to say that if I lived in Edinburgh I’d probably stop buying full bottles and just pick up a few of these 200 ml bottles each week. You can take that as confirmation that I quite liked the first one I picked up. Here are my notes.
Caol Ila 14 (53.4%; Cadenhead’s Manager’s Cask Sample; hogshead; from my own bottle)
Nose: Bright, acidic, phenolic smoke; citronella; almond paste. Sweeter with time with some vanilla; and also more resinous. With more time, it’s less phenolic and the classic Caol Ila notes are on full display: olive oil, lemon, brine, pepper. With a drop of water there’s more of the lemon and more of the softer notes too (vanilla, almond paste).
Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose and with the same progression. Lovely texture. More resinous and peppery with time. Mellower with water and a touch creamier.
Finish: Long. The peppery olive oil and smoke and lemon swirl around each other to the end. Not much change here with water.
Comments: Quintessential teenaged bourbon cask Caol Ila. Nothing I’ve never had before; something I’m alway happy to have. Unhappy I have so little left of this though.
Rating: 87 points.