Fragrant Drops Caol Ila 7yo Cask #300564 & Fragrant Drops North British 29yo Cask #48731


We’re looking at a few more releases today from Fragrant drops...

Fragrant Drops Caol Ila 7yo Cask #300564

Region: Islay

ABV: 57.3%

Price: £75.00

Distilled on 18th January 2016, this release was finished in a fresh Palo Cortado Hogshead and bottled at 7 years old on the 24th March 2023. 246 bottles were made available exclusively through the Fragrant Drops website.

Nose

It’s a little tight initially, and we’d suggest you pour it at least 10 minutes before you plan to drink it. As it opens up, we notice it’s very buttery, like kippers smothered in melted butter, on an all-butter croissant. There’s also lots of smoke, as if we’re having a bonfire in the back garden. We’re also getting lime juice, a little dirt, cloves, pistachios, and a hint of vinegar. There isn't a huge amount of sherry influence here, but we still enjoy nosing it.

Palate

There's a little more sherry on the palate than on the nose, but not much. Orange marmalade, golden syrup, pepper spice, and bonfire smoke that turns into ash and lingers on a good-length finish. Going back, we taste orange juice, and we can't understate just how much citrus we get from this. It's like flat orange juice with peat added. It has a lovely mouthfeel that's really syrupy and doesn't really taste its ABV. Dangerously drinkable.

Nose (with water)

Water has brought a little more sherry to the nose, with notes of vinegar and some beef stock emerging. It's become earthier, and more smoke is starting to appear. It's less buttery now, and we’re reminded of cold butter. More meatiness starts to become noticeable as it sits in the glass.

Palate (with water)

While the nose benefits from a little water, we've lost some of that sweetness on the palate. It's as if we're chewing on orange rind now. There's less smoke, and a fair amount of stale ash is coming through. It's also a little hotter, with a slight bitterness emerging, but the mouthfeel remains good. The sweetness also dissipates a bit too quickly, and it numbs our tongue slightly, reminiscent of an aniseed sweet.

Conclusion

A dessert dram that's perhaps a touch one-dimensional, but then again, if you're going to have a one-dimensional flavour, being sweet and peated is a pretty good choice. We enjoyed this and believe it's an easy 8/10.

Score: 8/10

Value

£75 for a 7 year old sherried Caol Ila isn’t a terrible price in today’s market.


Fragrant Drops North British 29yo Cask #48731

Region: Lowlands

ABV: 50.9%

Price: £100.00

Distilled on the 17th of November 1993, this release matured fully in a 1st-fill bourbon barrel for 29 years until its bottling on the 10th of February 2023. Only 200 bottles were made available.

Nose

The nose opens with notes of fresh strawberries, prunes, pistachios, and just a hint of tobacco. There's a freshness to the nose that we really enjoy. Revisiting, we also notice noted of lime and rice crispies. While there's an initial hint of “traditional grain” notes, these are quickly overtaken by the cask, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Palate

This is incredibly sweet, reminiscent of drinking caramel syrup. There's also a subtle hint of tobacco similar to the nose, along with freshly squeezed lemon juice, marshmallows, sugar syrup, and red apples. A bite of chili spice is present here, lingering on a good-length finish, which significantly outlasts the sweeter notes. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, but it doesn't detract too much from the dram.

Nose (with water)

Even with reduction, there's still a touch of tobacco, but now we're transported to the Caribbean, as this has turned incredibly tropical with dominant notes of passion fruit syrup, mangoes, dragonfruit, and pineapple. Additionally, a slightly perfumed note emerges as it sits in the glass.

Palate (with water)

With reduction, the spice achieves better balance, and the mouthfeel has improved, becoming syrupy. The palate now mirrors the nose more closely, with those tropical fruits appearing along with whipped cream. We’re finding a touch of honey lingering on the finish.

Conclusion

We would definitely recommend adding a splash of water to this. When reduced, it becomes a delightful tropical dram. Yes, like the Caol Ila it might be a bit one-dimensional, but who care when it’s good. This easily earns a 7.5/10 from us.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

Around £100 for a nearly 30 year old grain is good value in our books.

  • 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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