The Caol Ila 2008 bottling by Dun Bheagan is a youthful 10 year old malt which exhibits all the signature characteristics of the Caol Ila name, although not as completely as in the 12 or 18 year old expressions. It has a potency reminiscent of the cask strength bottling, and a clover honey streak which will appeal to fans of good Irish whiskies as well.
Nose: An intense rush of sea salt and peat, followed by clover and orange zest, characterizes the strongly alcoholic vapor on the nose of this dram. Enjoy it carefully and don't swirl the glass too much or else you may singe a nose hair.
Palate: Citrusy, with a mouth-puckering heat followed by mangos, mint, orange peel, salted nuts, and gentle peat on the finish. A dash of water brings out a clover honey taste evocative of a fine Irish whiskey such as the Connemara.
We enjoyed this dram accompanied by thin chocolate wafers of 70% percent coca. The chocolate elicited a wonderful mintiness while balancing off the peppery characteristics of the scotch. This pairing makes for a delicious after-dinner course.
Finish: Finishes heavily, with strong alcohol vapors, salty residue, and dry sulfurous notes lingering.
Overall: Tastes vary widely on this one. I personally favor the bold, peated, salty side of the scotch spectrum that is the signature of Islay malts Caol Ila. There is, however, a lack of subtlety bordering on immaturity in this scotch which may overwhelm someone who prefers a slightly more refined bouquet.