Mythical Beasts Caol Ila 15yo Cask #1309 & Mythical Beasts Ardmore 14yo


Today we’re looking at two releases from an indie bottler that we’ve never tried, Mythical Beasts.

    Mythical Beasts Caol Ila 15yo cask #1309

    Region: Islay

    ABV: 50.9%

    Price: £150.00

    This release was finished in single NEOC PX Sherry hogshead for 18 months before bottling at 15 years old. We’re assuming the original cask was bourbon. If like us you haven’t heard of NEOC before here’s a few details:

    The NEOC process takes place in Cognac and is conducted by specialist Cooper ASC. The coopers dismantle the casks and shave the barrel staves to expose the fresh wood. Then, the casks are reassembled and gently 'toasted' by fire for 45 minutes, which is a significantly longer toasting time than the traditional re-char process.

    Nose

    On the nose, we're getting red liquorice, blackcurrant jam, TCP, cloves, chlorine, and a hint of bonfire smoke in the distance. With time in the glass, fresh prunes emerge, along with the aroma of melted butter on sardines cooking on a beach in Spain. There's a subtle woodiness and a touch of cola as well. This whisky is surprisingly easy to nose, and we wouldn't have guessed it was over 50%.

    Palate

    On the palate there are notes of ash, TCP, cold black coffee, and dark chocolate, which transition into raw ginger and cardamom on the finish. Speaking of the finish, it has a good length, although there's less sherry sweetness than expected. While the whisky doesn't taste its ABV, the palate is slightly thin. One of us, being a coffee drinker, truly appreciates this, while the other, who is not a fan of coffee, is less impressed by this dram.

    Nose (with water)

    The dram takes a few drops of water well, and we’re finding reduction has brought out much more of the sherry cask influence and we’re getting treacle, rancio wine, lime zest, and chocolate in addition to the notes above.

    Palate (with water)

    Reduced we’re now getting less smoke, and finding the sweetness now shows as very synthetic. The mouthfeel remains a touch thin, but the finish is still a good length with lots of dark chocolate and coffee still lingering. We prefer the palate without water, but some will disagree.

    Conclusion

    This would have been hard for us to identify as Caol Ila if we were tasting this blind. Saying that it doesn’t mean this is a bad dram, just one that’s more cask lead. While the palate is a touch thinner than we would have liked the other aspects of the dram carry it to a 7/10.

    Score: 7/10

    Value

    £150 for a 15yo Caol Ila is definitely on the steep side.

    Mythical Beasts Ardmore 14yo

    Region: Highlands

    ABV: 56.8%

    Price: £75.00

    This bottling was was matured for 14 years in a first fill bourbon barrel. 225 bottles were released.

    Nose

    Pistachios, almonds, red apples, and a little lime juice—time in the glass reveals cold butter, runny cream, honey, charred wood, and rice wine vinegar. There’s very light peat smoke here, but it’s mostly covered by the other notes. Like the Caol Ila, this is easy to nose, even at 56.8%.

    Palate

    It’s got an oily mouthfeel with more peat showing on the palate than the nose. We’re getting honey, double cream, apple cider and sugar syrup leading into a spicy finish. There’s a little too much spice on the good length finish and we’re getting chilli, cardamom and aniseed lingering. Air reveals verbena, grapefruit and crushed almonds.

    Nose (with water)

    The reduced nose has a little more peat, some cloves, Hibiscrub, and tobacco. There's also more spice now in the form of cinnamon. The nuttiness has faded, but most of the other pre-dilution notes are still present.

    Palate (with water)

    On the reduced palate, the peat shows as ash, and along with it we're getting notes of old leather, red lentils, and aspartame. The mouthfeel remains good, but it's still a little spicy for our taste, with a prominent presence of raw ginger and pomegranate seeds on the still decent-length finish.

    Conclusion

    This is a solid Ardmore that’s take water well. It is however just a touch spicy for our tastes.

    Score: 6.5/10

    Value

    Much more reasonably priced than the Caol Ila and fairly priced against other IB releases.

    • 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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