Caol Ila 7, 2010 (Sovereign)

Another sherried malt after yesterday’s Balblair 21, and another K&L exclusive. However, this is not from the current run of K&L exclusives, of which I’ve already reviewed a few this month (Clynelish 23, 1995, Glen Moray 23, 1995, Allt-A-Bhainne 23, 1995). This was part of last year’s set of exclusive casks, I believe. Sherry-matured Caol Ila can be very excellent indeed. In this case, however, the maturation regime is not very straightforward. This whisky is apparently from something called a “sherry finished butt”. What is a “sherry finished butt”? In this case it is apparently a refill sherry cask that was filled/seasoned with sherry for a while, emptied and then filled with this whisky. If that seems rather bogus it’s because it is but it’s also almost certainly a practice far more rife in the industry than we would hope to be the case (see also Signatory’s “wine treated butts”. It also seems like a recipe for a whisky where the sherry will separate and float free on the palate or finish. Let’s see if that actually happens though. Continue reading


Bowmore 11, 2000 (Hunter Hamilton)


This Bowmore was bottled by Hunter Hamilton (one of the 5000 Douglas Laing spin-offs) under the Sovereign label for K&L in California in 2011. I purchased it in 2012, and opened it late last year for a Bowmore tasting with friends, where it was very well received. As I’ve noted before, I have my issues, to put it mildly, with much of K&L’s marketing, but I’ve generally liked their selections a lot and this is no different.

Bowmore 11, 2000 (57.5%; Hunter Hamilton for K&L; from my own bottle)

Nose: Raisins and apricot jam at first. Then a meaty/savoury quality mixed in with something inky–almost gamy. Gets fruitier as it sits with some honeyed citrus poking its way out through the darker notes. Not a whole lot of smoke but it’s there underneath, tying everything together. The fruit and the Bowmore flowers get stronger with time. Really quite nice. With water there’s some cream or maybe it’s shortbread. Continue reading

Caperdonich 18, 1994 (Hunter Hamilton for K&L)

Caperdonich 18
This Caperdonich was bottled for K&L in California by Hunter Hamilton under their Sovereign label. Hunter Hamilton in turn is one of the many Laing outfits, I believe. All the Caperdonichs I’ve had have been very old and from the halcyon period from the late 60s to the early 70s so I am curious to see what this middle-aged one from 1994 is like. You don’t really hear too much about Caperdonich from the 1980s and 1990s.

And Caperdonich is really not a well-known name, in general, outside whisky geek circles. This bottle started out north of $100 at K&L and eventually got discounted down to the mid-$70s. Hard luck for those who bought it at the original price but so it goes, I suppose. Anyway, now that the distillery is closed down for good it might well be that there’s a lot of stock from its later period as well that might get to mature to a ripe old age as the older stock did through the 70s, 80s and 90s. Continue reading