Saturday, January 5, 2008
Last night a friend of a friend, Colin (who I consider a friend at this point), invited us over for a BBQ where I had my first experience with Caol Ila 18.
The 12 had been in and out of my collection a few times, but the 18 was a whole new world.
We had drank with Colin a few times before, but I had only seen him drink rum. He had a taste for some of the lesser known, but better rums of the Caribbean, so I should have known that he would carry a bold selection.
The whisky menu was impressive- Glenmorangie 10, MacAllen 12 Sherry Finish, and... the almighty Caol Ila 18. The rum, which I did not drink, was also impressive; Bacardi's Centenario, and Zacapa 15, Barbancourt 15, and he even pealed out a bottle of Zacapa Centenario XO for those that wanted an after dinner drink.
After having a couple of drinks of MacAllen, Colin told me that the Caol Ila 18 was one of his favorites. I mentioned that I had gone through a few bottles of the 12 year, but never tried the 18. He gave me a cheerful yet serious look, as if he knew that I was going to be pleased, and said, "this has the same smokiness of the 12, it is smoother and with no aftertaste."
This simple, yet accurate, description was sums it up well. I always felt that the sour aftertaste of the 12 took away from the charm of it's smokiness.
I chucked a handful of ice into my glass (sorry about the ice, but this was a heavy drinking night for me), and filled it with a shot and a half...
SMOKEY AND SMOOTH
Yes, I will say it again, smoky and smooth. It had a sweet finish that went much better with that smoky aroma. Every sip was as good or better than the previous. By my third glass, dinner was served. Jerk fish and barbecued prawns may not be the first thing that you would think to enjoy with this fine beverage, but it went great together.
I highly recommend this excellent Scotch, but buy the bottle because 2 or 3 drams are not going to be enough.
Their official website lists both a cask strength and a 25 year with notes that both sound very interesting.
Distributed by Diageo, it should be available almost everywhere.
WikiPedia Caol Ila
Caol Ila Official Site
Diageo - Caol Ila