Dram Mor Caol Ila 6yo Cask #315817 & Whisky Ella Caol Ila 9yo Cask #325854


Back to Islay looking at two independently bottled Caol Ilas.

Dram Mor Caol Ila 6yo Cask #315817

Region: Islay

ABV: 59.0%

Price: £75.00

This release spent its very short maturation in a refill bourbon hogshead. There were 312 bottles released some of which are still available on Master of Malt if this sounds like your thing.

Nose

Initially we’re getting a sourness that makes us think there’s lime peel in the glass. We’re also getting iodine, warm melted butter, and the faintest hint of new make. Not as smokey as we expected, but the smoke that’s here shows as pineapple chunks that have been burnt on a BBQ.

Palate

We’re first hit by the peat, then there’s a punch of iodine and tar. This is followed by heat / spice, showing as green chillis and cracked black pepper. Finally there’s some sweetness in the form of tangerine and lemons. Going back to it there’s a tobacco, and dried tea note. This has a nice mouthfeel, but is a touch hot on the finish with some synthetic sugar and a lot of spice lingering on a long finish.

Nose (with water)

With water we’re finding this significant more smokey. It’s like the house is on fire. There’s also a lot of orange and ginger coming through. Giving it air and it develops a dunnage warehouse mustiness.

Palate (with water)

Now on the reduced palate the sweetness hits us first. The peat that’s coming through now is ashy. The alcohol bite / spice has been significantly reduced now. There’s still a hint of spice which lingers after the ash and sweetness but it’s more palatable now. Air reveals a touch more ethanol.

Conclusion

We’re not always the biggest fan of spirit forward whisky, but this is pretty great. Personally we’d drink this neat to preserve the smoke and peat as we really enjoy the peaty punch, but others will want to add a touch of water.

Score: 8/10


Whisky Ella Caol Ila 9yo Cask #325854

Region: Islay

ABV: 59.0%

Price: £85.00 

A new independent bottler for us today we try our first release from Poland based Whisky Ella. This release was finished in a 1st fill oloroso hogshead. 206 bottles were released.

Nose

We’re not finding the sherry influence is overly obvious and one person trying this thought it was a bourbon cask. Best we can do is a little toffee. There’s light smoke on the nose like cinders from a fire burning out. Giving it air we find there’s also some custard, sea shells and honey.

Palate

There’s an initial bitterness that we’ll say is dark chocolate ginger biscuits that have bee sprinkled in sugar. The smoke shows as a burnt stick. Going back to it and there’s some burnt coffee with Weetabix. We’re finding the mouth feel a little disappointing compared to the Dram Mor, but it’s not terrible. There’s some seawater lingering on a good length finish. Like the nose, the sherry notes aren’t obvious, but the smoke is more noticeable.

Nose (with water)

With water we’re finding more smoke on the nose. The sherry is also starting to show itself in the form of treacle and raisins. Giving it some air and we can pick out a little meatiness from the sherry, but it’s very faint.

Palate (with water)

Like the nose the sherry is starting to show a little and we’re getting a little bacon drizzled in honey. We’re now finding a better balance between the smoke and the sweeter notes with the bitterness disappearing. There’s also a nice ashiness and ginger spice that remain on the tongue. Going back to it and we’re getting a little caramel. Again, the people drinking this were split on if this had actually been in sherry.

Conclusion

We recently reviewed Dramfool Glenmarvellous # 2, a bourbon cask Glenfarclas that had a 4 year finish in a port cask. That was a great example of what happens when the finish on a whisky is substantial. This release is the perfect example of what happens when a finish is too short. While this is still a decent dram we’re not sure why they bothered reracking this as the only place the sherry is really noticeable is the label.

Score: 7/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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