|Refill Sherry Hogshead
Unveiling the Mystery: Caol Ila 14 Years Old WhiskyNerds Cask 13C
In the world of premium whiskies, there are gems that capture the essence of craftsmanship and exclusivity. One such treasure is the Caol Ila 14 Years Old WhiskyNerds Cask 13C, a masterpiece distilled on November 22, 2008, and bottled on October 20, 2023, by the renowned Dutch independent bottler, WhiskyNerds. Limited to just 172 bottles, this release is a testament to the artistry and dedication of both the distillery and the bottler.
The Mystery Unveiled:
Upon first glance, the label on this exceptional release tantalizes the curious palate with the words "Secret ISlay." A clever play on words, the label sparks intrigue with a subtle hint cleverly embedded within the text. The juxtaposition of the yellow-colored "C" in "Secret" and the "I" in "Islay" playfully reveals the true identity of the spirit—Caol Ila.
What sets this particular expression apart is its maturation process. The liquid gold within each bottle has matured gracefully for 14 years in a Refill Sherry Hogshead. This aging process imparts a rich and nuanced character to the whisky, creating a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate.
As one explores the depths of this Caol Ila 14 Years Old, the refined palate is greeted with a complex interplay of peat smoke, maritime influences, and subtle sherry sweetness. The marriage of these flavors creates a harmonious and well-balanced profile that evolves with each sip. The high alcohol content of 54.4% adds an extra layer of intensity, amplifying the sensory experience.
WhiskyNerds, the esteemed Dutch independent bottler behind this release, has garnered a reputation for selecting casks that exemplify excellence. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to quality, WhiskyNerds ensures that each bottling is a true representation of the distillery's craftsmanship and the unique characteristics of the cask.
Limited Edition Rarity:
The exclusivity of the Caol Ila 14 Years Old WhiskyNerds Cask 13C is underscored by the limited number of bottles—only 172 in existence. Whisky enthusiasts and collectors alike will undoubtedly covet this rare gem, appreciating not only the exceptional liquid within but also the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into its creation.
In the realm of premium whiskies, the Caol Ila 14 Years Old WhiskyNerds Cask 13C stands as a testament to the artistry, passion, and dedication of both the Caol Ila distillery and the WhiskyNerds bottling expertise. As the label playfully hints at the secret within, each sip unravels a story of complexity and refinement. This limited edition release is a must-have for connoisseurs seeking a unique and memorable dram that encapsulates the spirit of Islay.
When the WhiskyNerds bottled their Springbank 1995 some five years ago, they filled the empty cask with a 10 year old Islay single malt. Although the distillery is undisclosed, the letter colours on the label should give us a clue.
Secret Islay Malt 14 yo 2008 (54,4%, WhiskyNerds 2023, refill hogshead #13C, 172 btl.)
Nose: initially perhaps more Springbank than Caol Ila, in my opinion, although that balance changes over time. Sour plums and red berries, tobacco leaves, roasted chestnuts. Then orange peels, leather and rusty metals. Whiffs of smoked Bündnerfleisch and sooty exchaust smoke. Eucalyptus and other herbal freshness too.
Mouth: now more classical, similar to other sherried Caol Ilas. Lovely deep smoke alongside salty lemons, a little ginger and Seville orange. Some liquorice, walnuts and dark roast meat with herbs. Hints of camphor. The typical coppery notes, brine and leafy tobacco of its Campbeltown pedigree also appear.
Finish: long, spicier, with black peppercorns, a hint of juniper, salt and hints of dried fruits.
Really good. Apart from being a high quality sherry cask, the Springbank influence adds another layer of complexity to this Islay whisky. Kind of a poor man’s Springbank, in a way, but a really nice result!
For a Caol Ila it seems to be quite low on the peaty scents. There’s a sherry note that translates more to almond flour and cherry stones than dried fruit. After a little air has been allowed it turns slightly yeasty, with hints of fermenting fruit and washbacks. Quite a bit of oak too.
The palate packs quite a punch, even though this isn’t my first dram of the day. Some dried fruits but more almonds flour and cherry stones for some bitterness. There definitely is some smoke and engine grease on the palate, but not as much as you’d expect from Caol Ila.
The finish mellows quickly and leaves your mouth watering and dry (or is that the same thing?). The finish is of medium lengths and leaves the same flavors as there were before, but without the heat and it’s less dry too.
This is a solid dram! The sherry cask is clearly represented, but is very well integrated in the spirit. It diminishes the peated character of the spirit a little bit, but leaves more than enough room for the engine grease and diesel notes that I have come to expect from a well chosen Caol Ila.
I’m off to find people to share samples with so I can justify getting my hands on a bottle!