Caol Ila 12yo "Unpeated Style" 2010 edition (57.6%): Another random pick from my sample collection... A dig into the history: 12yo unpeated Caol Ila released as a part of Diageo's Special Releases back in 2010 and bottled at cask strength.
Color: Yellow gold, Chardonnay with very thin but slow legs.
Nose: Sea breeze... Salt, rosemary stalks and fresh uncured olives. Well, it says unpeaty but like all other Caol Ila "unpeated style" releases there is certainly some peat in there: Charred lemon halves, dried seaweed and wet sand. Fresh thyme leaves, surf board and barbecue ash. Most probably it is because of the stills and/or piping holding peaty distillate residues from the earlier distillations but there is some peat in there. Water adds slight floral and green aromas. Freshly cut grass, dandelion flowers and grilled banana peppers.
Palate: There is some serious peat on the palate as well... Chimney soot, olive brine and sea salt. Campfire smoke and lemon juice. Adding water pulls citrusy notes out more. Lime, salted lemon slices and chamomile tea. Some dry grassiness like straws, dry grain and grilled green asparagus. Ash...
Finish: Long with cigar ash and lemon peel.
Overall: It is a fantastic whisky... Love these (mostly) ex-bourbon cask matured Caol Ila unpeated series. Love them immensely... I remember my favorite being the 10 year old one from 2009 but this one is a cracker as well. I think we can all agree that they don't end up being entirely unpeated in the bottle though. Maybe that's why they use those quotes when they print "Unpeated Style"on the label, maybe they are actually air quotes. I wish they were more bottlings available from Caol Ila in this style especially in this price range. If still not obvious I am saying out loud: I am a big fan..! Many thanks to Florin for the sample...