Fragrant Drops Caol Ila 12yo Cask #9002142 & Fragrant Drops Savanna 10yo Cask #4


Some new releases from Fragrant Drops today, including a Rhum Agricole which we don't see too often in the UK.

Fragrant Drops Caol Ila 12yo Cask #9002142

Region: Islay

ABV: 55.0%

Price: £79.95

This 12yo release was distilled 18th of May 2011, and bottled 18th of October 2023 after a 18 month finishing period in a fresh Sauternes barrique. 255 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose opens with notes of lemon sponge, apricot, smoked peaches, freshly laid tar, green apples, alongside the scent of freshly turned dirt. Going back there’s also vanilla buttercream, maize, oak smoked salmon, singed marshmallows, and Tunnocks tea cakes. It has a nice salinity and a good level of peat, that’s nicely balanced by the sweeter notes. It’s very easy to nose given the ABV.

Palate

The palate begins with a burst of citrus sweetness, swiftly followed by a wallop of peat. There’s also dark chocolate, sherbet, and smoked kippers, transitioning into notes of engine oil in the mid-palate. Flavours of red chilli spice, ash, lavender, fresh rosemary, blood orange, and hazelnuts appear alongside cloves and aniseed. The mouthfeel is pleasingly syrupy. A long finish ensues, with the majority of the flavours lingering for its duration.

Nose (with water)

Reduction brings out cardamom spice, and aniseed. There’s less smoke now and we’re reminded of the dying embers of a fire. Going back there’s some warehouse funk, hint of vinegar sournesses, and freshly cut wood.

Palate (with water)

Reduced the spice has diminished, giving way to increased sweetness. The trade off is a slightly thinner mouthfeel. The smoke is now best described as cigarette ash. The finish maintains its good length. For us the addition of water has made it a little more one dimensional.

Conclusion

The Sauternes finish has added an interesting dimension to both the nose and palate. It's really well balanced, and we think any longer in the Sauternes cask may have pushed it too far, but as it stands this is another great release from Fragrant Drops.

Score: 8.5/10

Value

£80 for a 12yo Caol Ila isn’t a bad price at all. Especially when it’s this good.


Fragrant Drops Savanna 10yo Cask #4

Region: Reunion

ABV: 55.3%

Price: £89.95

While we usually focus on whisky, our interest in Rhum Agricole has compelled us to highlight this particular release, especially given the spirits scarcity in the UK market.

For those unfamiliar, Rhum Agricole is a distinctive style of rum mainly from the French Caribbean. It's unique in its production, utilizing freshly-pressed sugarcane juice rather than molasses. This process lends a fresher, grassier flavor profile, distinguishing it from other types of rum. Typically distilled in column stills, Rhum Agricole is available in both young and aged variants.

This release was distilled on the 6th of March 2013 at Savanna Distillery, and bottled 16th of October 2023, after spending its final 6 years in a red wine barrel. 288 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose opens with a mixture of brown sugar, damp earth, strawberry jam, and milk chocolate, intertwined with notes of raspberries, potatoes, and plums. Further aromas of apple strudel, caramel, burnt sugar, and a hint of sourness appear as we sit with it. The nose is surprisingly approachable given its ABV.

Palate

Initially, the palate mirrors the nose, showcasing notes of brown sugar and earth. Behind that we're finding flavours of barbecue and flambéed pineapple appearing along with tobacco, cinnamon, cola, and raisins. The mouthfeel is nice and syrupy, with a good length finish. Worth pointing out for those who haven’t tried that this isn’t as sweet as other styles of rum.

Nose (with water)

With reduction, the nose becomes slightly sweeter, revealing additional notes of freshly cut grass, treacle, cola, and ginger. There’s a fresher quality to the nose now, complemented by undertones of liquorice.

Palate (with water)

With the addition of water, the rum has shed much of its sweetness, instead developing a hint of bitterness and richer notes of cinnamon spice, tobacco, leather, and cloves. The mouthfeel has become less syrupy. The finish, while still of good quality, has become spicier.

Conclusion

If you're yet to experience Rhum Agricole, this particular offering would serve as an ideal introduction, really showing off the unique style of this rum. It's yet another impressive release from Fragrant Drops. For lovers of Rhum Agricole, like ourselves, this would also be a great purchase.

Score: 8/10

Value

One of the cheaper cask strength releases of Rhum Agricole we’ve seen.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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