Two friends from Rotterdam and a cask split from a Caol Ila 2008, but both with a different finish, Together they release this 1st edition of this forthcoming series and it’s the beginning of what looks like a beautiful collaboration.
You might already know Torsten from a few of his other bottlings, such as that very beautiful Caol Ila (if not, there’s an introduction to his brand in this review) that he released last summer and recently he also bottled a lovely Deanston. For Roger, this Caol Ila is his first bottling, a dream come true.
Both Caol Ilas started as one in the same cask, namely an ex-bourbon cask, in which it matured just over 11 years. But after the split, both have taken a slightly different path. Roger’s Caol Ila is finished in a 1st fill PX sherry octave and is diluted to a strength of 50% ABV. While Torsten has chosen to finish his Caol Ila in a 1st fill Oloroso sherry octave and bottled it at cask strength. The twin bottlings were bottled at the same time, making them both 12 years old. But the different finish and strength in alcohol can certainly make a big difference in taste. I’m very curious how this will turn out. Let’s take a look.
Caol Ila 2008 (Roger’s whisky Company) tasting notes:
Nose: sweet peat and oranges. A hint of a honey glazed bbq ham and a hint of bonfire smoke. It’s briny. Wet rope and a faint medical note, leaning towards bandages, which is quickly followed by seaweed. Later also gooseberries. And even more later, earl grey tea.
Taste: rather creamy at first. Peat and also that bbq ham is back, but the honey is on itself now, acacia honey. Brine and also a smouldering bonfire. A hint of tar. And then a coffee note in the back. A bunch of spices, but rather gently: black pepper, ginger and cloves. After letting it standing for a bit I also get milk chocolate.
Finish: mid-long with mostly the same spices and peat.
Caol Ila 2008 (Torsten Paul Whisky Company)
Nose: Somewhat fresher somehow. The peat seems to be more restrained or less pronounced at first. Still that bbq ham but less. A splash of seawater and minerals. An ashy note in the background. Wet rope. Water brings out the oranges and a hint of meat broth. Liquorice too.
Taste: sweet peat and tar. Blueberries and a faint hint of raisins. This one is spicier as its twin, but it are the same spices: black pepper, ginger and cloves. At some points, I almost get a red chilli pepper heat. Water softens it up and it brings out sweetness, honey mostly and maybe a touch of liquorice.
Finish: mid-long with those spices again, peat and tar.
Overall: Normally I’m not a huge fan of octave finishes as I often find them a bit overpowering and they can sometimes mask the original whisky. But I think the octave finishes actually work quite well here, since the Caol Ila character is clearly still present with both whiskies.
Both Caol Ila’s are very similar, but I find Roger’s Caol Ila just a bit more outspoken and slightly more pleasant than Torsten’s Caol Ila. Because Roger diluted the alcohol percentage, a nice creamy texture is created on the palate and the flavours come through a little better. Torsten’s Caol Ila was also slightly more aggressive due to that high alcohol percentage and this is especially evident on the palate. However, adding water does help to reduce it. Anyway, I think the gentlemen have done a good job there. So well done to you both!
Samples provided by Roger and Torsten.