Chieftain's Caol Ila 10 Years Medoc Finish Review

Country: Scotland
Brand: Chieftain’s Caol Ila Medoc Finish
Bottled by: Ian Macleod & Comp. Ltd., Edinburgh
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Region: Islay
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol: 43%
Date: 02/07/2012

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: A mixture of Peat, Smoke, Rubber, Medicinal Alcohol and Sea Water. A bit of Malt, Biscuit and Vanilla in the background. No fruity tones that I’m aware of. It’s not bad but it’s quite uneventful and one-sided.

Taste: Peat, Sugar, Light Spices and unexpected hints of Milk Chocolate.

Finish: Quite long, perhaps even too long with Peat, Rubber, Sugared Herbal Tea and Licorice

With the addition of a few drops of water, the Nose becomes a brick of Peat sprayed with Salty Water. Bit of Malt, Oak and Vanilla and a hint of Red or Rose Wine. On the Palate the dram becomes a bit milder but the Chocolate is gone. The Finish is much shorter and uneventful really. You can certainly experiment with a bit of water. I usually prefer to drink Single Malts neat but in this case a couple of drops are beneficial.

Rating:  76 
Nose: 20 - Taste: 19 – Finish: 18 – Overall: 19

General Remarks: Ian MacLeod is a so-called Independent Bottler. These companies play an important part in today’s whisky industry. They buy casks of (young) spirit from Distilleries, mature them, finish them and bottle them, all at their own discretion and then sell the final product under their own label. This is all very attractive for whisky drinkers who look beyond the standard Distillery offerings. They are often bottled at cask strength and non-chill-filtered. Many times, but not always, Independent Bottlers offer products that are greatly appreciated.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is my first dram of Caol Ila and I’m sure there are a lot of better expressions around. 
This 10 Y Medoc Finish suffers from a lack of fruit. I would love to try a Distillery expression that was(partially) matured in fine Sherry casks. I’m sure that would provide a better balance for the Peat, Smoke and Medicinal Tones. As it is, I find this whisky too monotonous. It also possesses a rubbery off-note that I find unpleasant, particularly in the (overly) long Finish.   

Jan van den Ende                                                                 July 2012

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