I’m having a tough time summoning the energy to write stupid preambles to these reviews that were written a couple of weeks ago. Here is all I could manage for this one: this is a 19 yo Caol Ila distilled in 1995 and bottled by Maltbarn. Accurate!
Caol Ila 19, 1995 (52.8%; Maltbarn; from my own bottle)
Nose: Lemon and phenolic peat with olive brine running through it. In other words, quintessential Caol Ila. On the second sniff there are sweeter notes of cereals and vanilla behind the smoke and just a hint of gasoline. With a few drops of water the vanilla turns to cream and expands
Palate: The peat is in the lead here and there’s more tar than was indicated by the nose. Very nice texture at full strength and very approachable. With time the lemon and olive brine expand here as well and there’s some smouldering leaves in there with the tarry smoke. Water brings the pepper out earlier and it’s sweeter/creamier here too now, though the smoke and lemon are still the top notes. Better balance on the whole now.
Finish: Long. The smoke goes on for a bit, picking up cracked pepper along the way. The sweet notes linger with water.
Comments: This is another of those Caol Ilas that makes you say, Port Ellen who? Give this another five years in the cask and it would be a stunner. Not to shabby as it is.
Rating: 88 points.