Old Master's Caol Ila 12
It can be confusing to peruse a store shelf of independently bottled whiskies such as those put out by Old Master's, Duncan Taylor, and Douglas Laing. There can be a large variety of ages and prices, and often from distilleries that are closed or don't put out official bottlings. Search the web and you'll be lucky to find any tasting notes. Attending tastings for independent bottlers is necessary to make educated purchases and a great way to find otherwise unknown gems. Old Master's Caol Ila 12, non chill-filtered and bottled at a hefty 59.8 %, is one such gem.
The great characteristic of this whisky is its incredible texture: fantastically oily and mouth-coating. You can smell the oils in the whisky, and on the palate it sticks to the roof of your mouth. If this is not the best textured whisky I've tasted, then it is among the best along with Ardbeg 10 and Balvenie 15. On top of this oily base are a great combination of peat and butterscotch. The peat is big but not youthful tasting at all, and it sits beautifully on top of that oily texture. The butterscotch is most evident on the nose and balances well with the peat. A medium smoke comes through on the finish, but it fades leaving just the sense of sucking on a Werther's Original toffee. 97 points (A+).
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