CAOL ILA 2010 The Suspects Chess Investigation Series French Connections 58%

Single Malt Whisky, Scotland / Islay, 70cl, Ref: 57894

Quantity limited to 2 bottle(s) by client.

An LMDW exclusive. Off the coast of Scotland, a ferry pierces the shimmering reflections of the Islay strait. Behind a shroud of white sea spray, we glimpse the outline of the white walls of the Caol Ila distillery. The fifth chapter in the Chess Investigation collection, created by La Maison du Whisky last spring, The Suspects presents a Caol Ila finished in a cask previously containing a Ballechin which had been aged in a Sauternes barrel. Bottled at cask strength, this extremely nuanced version reveals a peat which, like a knight moving freely across a chess board, travels constantly along, up and across a palette of flavours and aromas that is also stately, superbly honey, floral, chocolate and surprisingly fruity (raspberry, red currant).

Profile: the powerful first nose is peaty and smoky. Next, citrus fruit (lemon), cut hay, juicy pear and dark chocolate play the troublemaker. Allowed to breathe, peat takes the upper hand. It is oily, iodine, salty and medicinal (camphor). The very ashy attack is also chocolaty and marine (seaweed). On the mid-palate, almond milk and fresh walnut delicately cover the taste buds. It becomes honeyed (lavender). The heady start of the finish reveals an oily, mineral (schist) and fruity (raspberry, coconut) peat. Gradually, strong spices (clove, nutmeg) and ginger soak into whole blocks of peat.

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Tasting note

  • Appearance : burnished gold with green hues.
  • Nose : powerful, lively. On the first nose, peat and smoke embark upon a Homeric duel. Candied lemon, cut hay, pear and dark chocolate act as particularly inspired troublemakers. Allowed to breathe, peat takes the upper hand. It is oily, iodine, salty and medicinal (ointment, camphor). Next, superb lemon and floral aromas (carnation, lily) flood the air. Finally, not to be outdone, peat once again takes the upper hand.
  • Palate : full, rich. The very ashy attack is also unctuously chocolate and marine (seaweed). On the mid-palate, almond milk and fresh walnut very gently cover the taste buds. Honey flavours (rose, lavender, heather) fragrance the end of the palate. This very interesting sequence of flavours and aromas showcases both Caol Ila and Ballechin. The image of a peat field home to white and yellow flowers (dandelion) is more appropriate than ever.
  • Overall : long, heady. At the start of the finish, notes of agave and a fresh and oily peat underscore the profoundly mineral character of the flavour palette (schist, slate). Gradually, red fruits (raspberry, red currant) and coconut milk bring lots of freshness to the very end of the palate. On the retro-nasal olfaction, strong spices (clove, nutmeg) and candied ginger soak into whole blocks of freshly cut, damp peat. The empty glass is intensely smoky (powerful Havana cigar), iodine (tincture), musky and camphoric.
The brand
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The brand

As well as reflecting its smoky, malted barley, Caol Ila is also oily and peaty, with marine and vegetable notes. Its recent official bottlings, which are particularly expressive, have an intense smoky and peaty character with a good balance of saltiness and sweetness. Superb versions of this single malt have also been released by independent bottlers Gordon MacPhail & Signatory Vintage. Caol Ila’s stills, which are large and onion-shaped, have a strong influence on this single malt and give it a fairly light and delicate character. Find out more

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Merchant

Although the independent bottler Signatory Vintage cannot claim to be one of the oldest in Scotland, it has managed to build up an extremely solid reputation amongst the great malt connoisseurs. The creator of the famous range The Prestonfield and many other well-known ranges, it is best known for its un-chillfiltered and cask strength bottlings that offer amateurs the chance to enjoy their whisky in its most natural form. It was also one of the first independent bottlers to acquire a distillery and now offers a growing number of expressions of one of the most artisan single malts available.

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