Welcome to KWM Whisky Advent Day 18 – Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice Caol Ila 2003
This is our third Gordon & MacPhail independent bottling in the 2015 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar, and there may be one more… The great thing about a century old independent bottler like Gordon & MacPhail (there aren’t many others!), is that they have such a deep and diverse stock of whiskies in their possession. Most independent bottlers are relatively new to the game and bottle whatever they can put their hands on. The casks in Gordon & MacPhail’s warehouses are the envy of the entire industry. They source their own oak and then have it filled. Now in its, 4th generation, the family owned business has released the three oldest whiskies ever bottled: G&M Generations Mortlach 70 Year, G&M Generations Glenlivet 70 Year and G&M Generation Mortlach 75 Year. No other company in Scotland has whiskies as old as Gordon & MacPhail. Even more crucial is their attention to detail and quality.
Caol Ila is Islay’s largest distillery, for all intents and purposes it is a whisky factory. Like Talisker, and a large proportion of Scotland’s distilleries, barley is trucked in, spirit is produced and then trucked away to be filled into casks and matured at vast central warehouses in central Scotland. Having just crushed any trace of romanticism surrounding this distillery and its whisky, I should point out it does have two saving graces: the consistently good whiskies it produces, and the unrivaled view from its still room. The name Caol Ila translates to the Sound of Islay, and is the 1 mile wide body of water separating the islands of Islay and Jura. Caol Ila is situated on the north-east coast of Islay in a sheltered cleft in the rock. It’s still room has the best view of any in Scotland, looking across the Sound of Islay at the Paps (mountains of Jura) of Jura.
G&M Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2003 – 46% – 12 Year – First Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrels – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: bacon grease, pancakes with butter, Aunt Jemima, honey, vanilla, melons and cream; white fruits and banana cream pie; there is a hint of the maritime elements to come with clean smoke and pan seared scallops; Palate: very buttery, pan seared scallops in butter, more bacon grease, more bananas, white fruits and melons, pancakes thick with butter and more Aunt Jemima’s syrup; the smoke and briny oily peat build with chewy malt; Finish: oily, coating and still buttery; thick with peat, fruits and honey; Comments: sublime for just 12 years of age, this is a stupendously good malt!” – $99.99
Stay tuned for Day 19 of KWM Whisky Advent Tomorrow