Booze Review

Whisky Review – Caol Ila 17 Year Old 1990 – Mission (Murray McDavid)

When we were first approached by Master of Malt about accepting some free whisky samples, all they asked is that we provide links to their website , Facebook page, and Twitter feed when we post our review of the whiskies they send. This was a perfectly timed solicitation since I had recently been going back and forth with our friends at Alcohol and Aphorisms and Beer, Beats, Bites about buying whisky samples from Master of Malt in the USA. Since I suffer from a bit of ADHD when it comes to food and drink (I am all about variety!), I was happy to hear that there was a retailer out there that provided this type of service for people like me.

Now that we have that bit of business out of the way, let’s get on with the review…

Here is a brief description of this whisky from the Master of Malt website:

“From the Murray McDavid Mission series of casks selected by Jim McEwan and bottled at the Bruichladdich distillery. This was distilled at Caol Ila in 1990, matured in bourbon barrels for 17 years and bottled in 2008 as part of a release of 900 bottles.”

Let’s see if it’s any good…

  • Appearance: Pale golden color which reminds me of Sauvignon Blanc. Clings to the glass when given a swirl. Long, slow moving legs.
  • Aroma: Light peat smoke, fresh cut grass, and just a hint of licorice in the background.
  • Taste: Very warming on the palate (I’m sure the 52.5% ABV has something to do with that). Lightly smokey at first. Pipe tobacco sweetness in the mid-palate. Long peppery finish.

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I am a big fan of the Single Malt Scotch that is distilled and matured in Islay. While Caol Ila isn’t as big and smokey as a Laphroaig, Lagavulin, or Ardbeg, they still make a whisky that is very typical of the Islay style. This particular Caol Ila is very reminiscent of the Ardbeg 10, but much less smoky. It has a similar peppery finish, but the overall flavors are more lush and well-developed. I imagine that this is what the Ardbeg 10 might taste like if it spent an extra 7 years in oak. I really enjoyed this whisky and would welcome the opportunity to drink it again. I guess this is the downside of a 3CL sample (a little over an ounce for those of us that aren’t familiar with the Metric system)… when you find something you like, there isn’t any more of it to drink!

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