Showing posts with label Celebration of the Cask. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celebration of the Cask. Show all posts

Caol Ila 1988 (Carn Mor) Review


“Isn’t It a Pity”

Whisky Review # 874

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 1988 (Distilled on December 1, 1988)
Bottled By: Morrison & MacKay
Bottled for: Carn Mor (Celebration of the Cask Series) on August 18, 2015
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # 4213
Age: 26 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 57% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead - 135 Bottles
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 350-390 (May 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: 😐 It's good but it lacks Balance and Complexity.

Colour: Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Be sure to give this Caol Ila enough time in the glass before Nosing. The first impressions are Smoke, Earthy Peat, Wood and a few Burnt notes. The Alcohol is present so you will need to find your way around it. I do not find an awful lot of complexity here. I must admit I'm slightly disappointed as I expected more after 26 years.

Main Aromas:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Butter, Burnt Heather, Charred Oak, Dirty Smoke, Wet Clay mixed with Cow Manure and Straw, Cigar Ashes, Soot, Toasted Pineapple, Roasted Coffee, Lemon, Olive Oil, Leather, Aniseed, Herbal Tea, Licorice, Pepper and Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Brine, Iodine, Tar, Burnt Rubber, Varnish, Toasted Nuts, Bacon and Shellfish on the BBQ, Wet Rocks, Grapefruit, Apple-Vinegar, Yeast, Mango, Tobacco, Cinnamon and Cloves.


Palate:

My favourite part of this Caol Ila. I find the Nose rather on the plain side and the Finish slightly Messy and quite Woody and Spicy. On the Palate, Coastal notes, Smoke/Peat, Wood, Spices and Fruit are a bit more in line.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Burnt Heather, Dirty Smoke and Earthy Peat, Soot, Cigar Ashes, Mix of Straw and Cow Manure, Charred Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Toasted Pineapple, Leather, Pepper, Aniseed, Menthol, Licorice and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Honey, Brine, Iodine, Smoked Bacon, Fish & Shellfish, Apple-Vinegar, Wax, Cherry-Flavoured Mints, Tobacco, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

     

Finish:

Middle-Long/Long. Sweet with additional Bitter, Salty & Sour notes for balance. The Alcohol remains quite present. Lots of Wood and Wood Spices as well. I find Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel/Butter, Vanilla, Dirty Smoke, Earthy Peat, Soot, Tar, Brine, Iodine, Ashes, Wet Rocks, Roasted Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Charred Oak, Grapefruit, Lemon, Smoked Salmon, Roasted Nuts, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Leather, Toasted Pineapple, Apple-Vinegar, Pepper, Menthol, Cinnamon, Aniseed and Ginger.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and the Alcohol retreats on the Nose and gives way to a few Fruity notes like Apricot or Peach. Banana perhaps. The Malt also becomes easier on the Palate and in the Finish although Menthol and Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup start to dominate the latter. Considering it all my advise would  be to add a few drops of Water in this case.

Rating: 87

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 22.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. I expected more though.

Conclusion:

The Caol Ila Distillery was founded in 1846 and is located close to Port Askaig on Islay. It was bought by DCL in 1927 and through some mergers is now part of Diageo. The distillery was rebuilt in 1974 and only one old Warehouse reminds us of former days. Traditionally, Caol Ila is an important component of Blends like Johnnie Walker, Bell's and White Horse. But during the last 15 years Diageo has made great efforts to position the Distillery as a Single Malt as well. Caol Ila is beautifully located alongside the strait between Islay and Jura. The Core range includes the 12, 18 and 25 Years, the Distiller's Edition as well as the NAS Moch. We enjoyed both our visits to the distillery in 2014 and 2017 respectively despite the fact that you're not allowed to take pictures.

In general I love well-matured Islay Whisky and Caol Ila is one of my favourite distilleries. But despite the fact that this Carn Mor expression is a good Single Malt, it failed to meet my high expectations and it won't rank amongst the best aged Caol Ila Malts I've tasted so far. There's too much Alcohol, Wood, Spice and Smoke to really consider it as being well-balanced. It probably overstayed its time in the cask a little bit. It's still a good Whisky of course but at today's prices I can't really recommend it. What a pity! I was really looking forward to taste this one!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     May 25, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Girvan 1994 (Carn Mor) Review


“The Grain, the Park and Other Things”

Whisky Review # 868

Country: Scotland
Region: Lowlands
Brand: Girvan 1994 - Distilled on October 18, 1994
Bottled by: Morrison & MacKay (MMcK) on January 18, 2016 - 178 Bottles
Series: Carn Mor (Celebration of the Cask)
Type: Single Grain Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # 137176
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49.3% - Cask Strength
Maturation: Bourbon Barrel
Chill Filtration: No
Price: Around US$ 150 (April 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😑A 21-old Whisky can't be cheap of course
Buying Advice: 👎It's quite simple and not worth this kind of money

Colour:

Pale Gold  (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Be sure to give this Girvan enough time in the glass before Nosing in order to get rid of the first heavy Alcohol fumes. Having done just that I must confess that there still isn't a whole lot going on in this department. It's mainly Sweet with clear Bourbon cask characteristics. There are no real off-notes except for a little Varnish but I can't get very excited about this simple nose to be honest.

Main Aromas:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Grass, Resin, Grain Alcohol, Milk Chocolate, Orchard Fruit like Apples, Pears and Green Plums, Orange, Cinnamon, Pepper & Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Toffee, Charred Oak, Bourbon, Varnish, Plastic, Syrup, Banana Ice-Cream, Lemon, Nectarine, Fresh - & Dried Herbs and Polished Upholstery.


Palate:

A bit Thin for a 21 Year-Old Whisky. The cask can't have been a very active one. The Palate is a little Edgy and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. Again, there's nothing too exciting going on.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Banana Ice-Cream, Green Apple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Syrup, Bounty Candy Bars, Charred Oak, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Polished Upholstery, Varnish, Bourbon, Sultanas, Fresh & Dried Herbs and Licorice.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Creamy, Oily and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Grain Alcohol, Vanilla, Toffee and Caramel, Charred Oak, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Fresh and Dried Herbs, Banana Ice-Cream, Bounty-Bars, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed, Menthol, Green Apple and Varnish.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Girvan. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 80

Nose: 20 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Conclusion:

Girvan Distillery was founded in Girvan (South Ayrshire) in 1963. It is owned by William Grant & Sons. Most of the production is used in the William Grant Blends like Grant's and Clan MacGregor. The Grain Whisky is produced with 91.5% Wheat and 8.5% Malted Barley. The distillery has six Column stills with a total annual capacity of 115 million litres. The distillery also produces Hendrick's Gin.

It's generally accepted that 65 to 70% of the Flavours of any Whisky are formed by the contact of the Spirit with the Cask during maturation. I would guess that this percentage is even higher for Grain Whisky. That's why many Single Grain Whiskies go the market with over 20 Years of Cask time. The Girvan I'm tasting today matured for 21 years and it could have matured more if you ask me. But you need active casks as well and # 137176 is a bit of a disappointment in this respect. I must admit that Single Grain is not really my thing in general but that won't stop me from trying again in the near future!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 13 ,2020