Woodrows Caol Ila Cask 8yo #319259A & Woodrows Campbeltown blend Cask #68


With the yearly whisky festivals upon us, we've got the Islay and Campeltown releases from Woodrows of Edinburgh up for review.

Woodrows Caol Ila Cask 8yo #319259A

Region: Islay

ABV: 57.0%

Price: £85.00

Distilled on the 9th of December 2015, this release was initially matured in a Refill Bourbon Hogshead before being transferred to a 1st American Oak Cream Sherry Quarter Cask for just under a year. It was bottled on the 15th of May 2024, with an outturn of 124 bottles.

Nose

The nose opens with a mix of coastal Islay peat, and a lovely fruity sherried sweetness. There’s kippers on the bonfire, smoked strawberries, cherry compote, tar, toffee bon bons and a soft vanilla in the background. The alcohol blends itself nicely into the dram, we wouldn’t have guessed such a high 50’s ABV. We’re also finding sultanas, burnt rubber, savoury thyme and Rosemary, alongside coal and a little cured venison too. The sherry is definitely prominent, but we’re still getting a lot of typical bourbon Caol Ila character too.

Palate

The palate hits you instantly with burnt coffee, pickle brine, smoked almonds, well-fired pizza dough and the remnants of a smouldering log fire. The peat smoke coats the mouth really nicely, lingering on through the medium to long finish, although slightly more muted than when first sipped. It’s sweeter on the finish than expected, a mixture of fizzy cola bottles and maraschino cherries in syrup, alongside the aforementioned Islay peatsmoke. The mouthfeel is decent, it’s got an olive-oil like texture to it. We’re also finding some citrus appearing, lemonade predominantly, as we go back for another sip.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose opens with a much nuttier aroma, salted and roasted peanuts and almond brittle predominantly. The peat is still there, but we’ve lost some of the fruiter sherry aromas we detected previously. It’s now a much more savoury, salty (and slightly woody) dram which some may enjoy more. Personally, we’re missing those sweeter fruits to balance the smoke out.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate follows in a similar pattern to the reduced nose, become more savoury, vegetal, earthy and oaky, whilst maintaining a punchy peatsmoke. There’s still hints of vanilla frosting and lemon zest in the background, but a lot less sherry influence than before. The finish maintains its long length though, with lots of smoke enveloping the mouth.

Conclusion

Another impressive release from Woodrows. This is our first cream sherry cask (in fact, we were convinced cream sherry casks didn’t exist!) but we’re pleasantly surprised. We get all of the peaty Islay goodness we wanted from the dram with a pleasant layer of fruity and sweet sherry. It avoids any astringency or bitterness, it’s a lovely marriage of sweet and peat.

Score: 8/10

Value

Not a bad price at all for some cask strength sherried peat.


Woodrows Campbeltown blend Cask #68

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 59.1%

Price: £65.00

This teaspooned cask of Glen Scotia was distilled on the 16th of March 2017 and matured in a 1st fill bourbon barrel. It was bottled on the 15th of May 2024 when it was 7 years old. A total of 105 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose opens with creamy citrus in good balance, we’ve got lots of lemon peel, effervescent Albariño wine, wafer cone biscuits, alongside some warehouse must, fondant icing and a little bruised mint in the background. You can feel the alcohol, but it’s not too overpowering and the other aromas are able to shine through past this. Time and air brings out a little Victoria sponge, orange essence, as well as a coastal feeling, with wet rope and flakey sea salt. You can tell the dram is on the younger side, but it avoids the overly yeasty, immature spirit character that some youthful whiskies can present.

Palate

The palate mirrors the nose quite well, bringing forward a creamy citrus to begin. We’re finding a lot of that lemon and orange shining through, this time more on the juice-side than the zest, along with custard cream biscuits, vanilla essence and light caramel too. The mouthfeel is nice, it’s not incredibly thick and luscious but does have a nice syrupy texture to it, and the finish lasts for a decent while, giving more milk chocolate, salted caramel and a bit of grapefruit bitterness. Leaving it in the glass, we’re getting more of a damp earth flavour coming through. The alcohol gives a nice warmth to the dram without being challenging.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose remains very similar to the undiluted version, perhaps a tinge more of the earthy, slightly herbal aromas appearing at the forefront, however we’re still getting a lot of the citrus and creamy vanilla notes. The longer we sit with it, we start to find green grapes and marshmallows too.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate loses some texture, it’s become a tad thinner than we’d like. We’re finding a lot of similar flavours as the unreduced palate, just like the reduced nose. There’s some warmer notes of clove and cocoa beans that appear towards the latter part of the palate.

Conclusion

This is a very impressive 7 year old Glen Scotia.. ahem.. Campbeltown Blend. The cask and spirit have blended together wonderfully, resulting in a real easy sipper with enough interesting sides to keep you coming back. One for a warm summers day on the beach in our opinion. Avoid water, the dram doesn’t need it and drinks perfectly well at cask strength. You’ll not be disappointed if you manage to nab a bottle.

Score: 8/10

Value

his is competitively priced against other Indie bottlers Scotia releases.

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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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