Whisky Focus - Diageo 2013 Special Releases

Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve Special Release 2013

3rd September 2013
Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve

This is the 8th release of the popular unpeated limited edition of Caol Ila which this year carries "No Age Statement" but instead has the subtitle "Stitchell Reserve" in honour of distillery manager Billy Stitchell who is due to retire this year.

A limited release from refill American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak casks but Diageo haven't declared how many bottles in the release. Bottled at a cask strength of 59.6% ABV. RRP £70.

Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve Tasting Notes

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Clear, olive gold. Light beading.

Nose: At full strength, immediately clean, aromatic and fresh: like inhaling Friarís Balsam. After this first blast, more reticent; softly sweet, then a vivid freshness like that of crisp green fruit or lemon zest. Water raises a fruity, nutty honeyed sweetness and a faint note of treacle, with perhaps just a hazy hint of smoke.

Body: Light to medium. Oily, yet firm.

Palate: Drinks well straight; has an intense and in your face style, with a most appealing smooth, lightly oily texture. Firm, clean and fresh throughout. Intense and mouth-filling, with a great initial surge of sweet spiciness unaccompanied by the usual signature phenols of peated Caol Ila or indeed, much fruit. Becoming honey-nutty (nut brittle, with a dark edge of treacle bitterness) then finally, warming and drying. A good splash of water develops these flavours; itís tongue-coating and appetisingly bitter-sweet now, leaving a spicy dryness as the tide of flavour ebbs.

Finish: Aromatic, spicy and drying; a balancing bitter edge embraces more of the soft nutty, biscuity notes, always maintaining that essential freshness overall.

Summary: A smooth-talking, easy-drinking powerhouse. A powerfully, punchy, warming and sweet-spicy whisky with a mighty vitality and a smooth texture: the clean, fresh bitter-sweet nutty flavours give it a character all of its own and itís a perfect testament to a remarkable whisky making dynasty.

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