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Whisky Review #74 – Caol Ila 1982 First Cask Series

Caol Ila 1982 – First Cask Series

WhiskyGeeks has not reviewed any bottles for an extended period, so it is time to put that right. Today, our review brings us to an independent bottler from the Netherlands, which is quite a character.

Brief History of the independent bottler

Jan Kok and Marcel Bol are the founders of Whisky Import Netherlands (WIN). Founded in December 2004, WIN started with the imports of new bottlings from Adelphi Distillery. Both Jan and Marcel are veterans in the whisky industry. As youngsters, Marcel was an avid whisky drinker and met like-minded Jan in the company that they both worked for. The two hit off so well that they planned a trip to Scotland together! From then on, their whisky journey took off on a higher note. As members of the local whisky club, Jan and Marcel both became the club leaders and Marcel was also in charge of the club’s publication. They are so well-known that Diageo approached them to promote whisky! As a result of this request, Jan and Marcel attended formal whisky courses and became accredited. During their learning journey, they got to know Charles MacLean, who got them to import new bottlings for Adelphi Distillery as well.

That is a short history on WIN, the Netherlands independent bottler, who bottled this excellent bottle of Caol Ila 1982 (single cask). The First Cask Series is WIN’s label, and much effort has been put into each selection to choose casks which showcase the character of the distillery and the influences of the barrels used. This bottle of Caol Ila is distilled in 1982 and matured in an American oak hogshead. 25 years later, WIN bottled the liquid without chill-filtration and colouring. It also boasts of a natural cask strength!

With the introduction completed, let’s dive into the review of this Caol Ila 1982!

Tasting Notes

Colour: Bright Gold
ABV: 60.8%

Nose: Elegant peat is all my brain could comprehend when I first nose this whisky! It was terrific. Sweet, fruity and light, all at the same time. When my mind calms down, I picked up mango, apricot and aromatic peat. There is a warm, pleasant spice wafting in the background. (18/20)

Palate: The first sip registered fruity sweetness and warm, mellow spice. A second sip reveals sweet mango, apricots, nutmeg, some cinnamon and beautiful peat. At the high abv of 60.8%, the liquid is gentle and elegant. The warm spice coats the mouth but does not burn the throat, which is pleasant for a high abv whisky. (19/20)

Finish: The finish is long with sweet peat and mango. The mouthfeel gets drier towards the end, but it is pleasant, almost wine-like. (19/20)

Body: This dram is excellently balanced. The peat co-exists beautifully with the sweet fruitiness and the gentle spice. I would say that the peat enhances the sweetness of the whisky and makes it even better! (36/40)

Total Score: 92/100

Where to find it: The Swan Song

Comments:

Geek Flora: “This dram makes me love Caol Ila more than I already am. That sweet, gentle peat completely sold me. I would be heading back for more in future!” 

Geek Choc: “I only got a sip of this, and it was heavenly. Did not get to drink a second sip of the dram after that because Flora was too excited and drunk everything herself!”

 

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Exclusive Whisky Pairing Event: House of Hazelwood

WhiskyGeeks is very honoured to be invited to an exclusive whisky pairing event by William Grant and Sons on 3 July 2017. Held at Violet Oon at the National Gallery, this is a media-only event that introduced their vivacious new blended Scotch whisky inspired by the family luminary Ms Janet Sheed Roberts.

This new range of whisky is named the House of Hazelwood. Composed of three exquisite expressions, each of them is blended to perfection, with its own inspiring story to tell. While all three whiskies are inspired by the 1920s, each whisky lives to tell a story of a different country. The most distinguished 25 years old is a representation of 1920s Shanghai, and a source of pride for its creator, Master Blender Brian Kinsman. It is followed by the 21 years old variant, which is a representation of 1920s Mumbai and the 18 years old variant, which is a representation of 1920s Paris.

This event is a whisky pairing session, which means food is served. As the event is held in Singapore, the organisers proudly paired the whiskies with Peranakan food.

While the whiskies are not paired with every serving of the food, WhiskyGeek enjoyed the selection of Peranakan food that was paired with the whiskies. Having attended many different whisky pairing sessions, it is in our opinion that blended whiskies are best paired with spicy food because the rich flavours of spicy food brings out the taste and flavours of blended whiskies, and vice versa.

Food aside, let’s talk a little bit more about the whiskies. WhiskyGeeks’ opinion is that all three expressions have their own distinct characters but their similarity lies in their light but luxurious feel. From the packaging to the decanter to the whisky itself, all three expression exude luxury and exclusiveness. Personally, we prefer the 21 years old expression as compared to the other two variants as we find the bolder, spicer taste more robust and balanced. You can find the detailed tasting notes of the three expressions in our tasting notes section – The Liquid Gold.  Blended whiskies have their characters too, and can be better than some of the single malts that we have in the market right now.

The packaging themselves are inspirations from the three mesmeric cities that are forerunners of the Art Deco movement – Paris, Mumbai and Shanghai. The designs are focused on creating a unique visual leitmotif which is associated with each city.

The House of Hazelwood was launched exclusively in the Global Travel Retail in February last year. With an ABV of 40%, all three variants are available in a 50cl art-deco decanter style bottle and you can find them only at the exclusive retailers in Singapore Changi Airport. Remember to grab them if you are travelling anytime soon or they will soon be gone!

More about William Grant and Sons, Ltd and Janet Sheed Roberts

William Grant and Sons, Ltd is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. The oldest family-owned luxury spirit company of Scotland is run by the fifth generation of his family today and distills some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich, The Balvenie  range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch Grant’s along with iconic premium spirits brands Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky, Drambuie and Milagro Tequila.

The House of Hazelwood is created  by William Grant and Sons, Ltd, inspired by both their ancestor Ms Janet Sheed Roberts and the Hazelwood House, a sturdy house that was bought by the Gordon family back in the early 1020s.. Janet Sheed Roberts united  the Grants and Gordon families, and became the undisputed matriarch of William Grants and Sons. She found her love for whisky from her grandfather while living in the Hazelwood House, travelled extensively and became the epitome of the progressive era-defining attitude of women in the 1920s and 30s.

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