Berry's Own Caol Ila 10 Year Old

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As one of the UK's oldest and most prestigious wine and spirit merchants, Berry Bros. & Rudd enjoy a century old whisky tradition anchored by the Glenrothes distillery. They also produce a highly regarded independent bottling line that can be hard to get your hands on outside the UK. You can deduce just why it's scarce by perusing the label details on their limited releases. In this case we whisky lovers find the words that make us spend our money, specifically, "cask strength", "unchillfiltered", "uncoloured" and even the two cask numbers (309796 & 309881) that this bottle was drawn from. So, before we even peel the cork seal off, we are bewitched by the prospect of uncompromised whisky. 

For the purpose of immortalizing this unique bottle, I am pouring a sizeable belt of this 58.5% ABV, pale straw coloured liquid into my wide-bowl glencairn glass.

Nose: Bold peat leads in with the classic Islay brine and sea shells. Looking deeper, a bit of breadiness and hint of cream.

Palate: Packs less heat than one might expect, with rich smoke and butter enveloping the mouth. Turning peppery late with some vanilla coming in just before it's committed to the depths.

Finish: Not soon forgotten, a tremendously long finish, and when the spice finally dissipates, a slight pear fruitiness appears.

Overall: Well worth the $70 USD that I shelled out at Total Wine in Tampa, of course, now sold out. Berry Bros & Rudd say it best on the label "this is an Islay drinkers Islay". If only we could get this kind of raw, unchillfiltered, cask strength character from Caol Ila's own 12 year old. That said, Caol Ila has previously released their own cask strength bottling without age statement which I am keen to sample.

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