The brand Port Askaig (From Elixir Distillers) is celebrating its 10th anniversary (Yes, it has been around for ten years already!). The first special celebratory release is a new ten year old Port Askaig.
There are 10,000 bottles, all from 33 casks. Some are classic refill American-oak hogsheads like thos used in Port Askaig 100 Proof, along with first-fill bourbon casks and ex-solera sherry casks.
This expression was bottled at unusual strength – 55.85% which also happens to be the geographical latitude of port askaig itself.
Port Askaig 10 Year Old (55.85%, £68.95/€65.95)
Nose: lively and kicking but also very fresh. There can be no doubt this is a Caol Ila with all those classic Caol Ila notes: lemon, honey, seafood and seaweed, sweet peat but there’s also saltiness and bitter almonds to balance the sweetness.
Palate: Yummy. Sweet with malt, sweet peat and honey. But just like the nose there are other flavours here to balance the sweetness – brine and salt, lemon, clams, almonds croissant, oily and after a few minutes also some crude oil (but it doesn’t ruin the dram).
Finish: Medium length, sea breeze and salt, peat, coals and lingering subtle honeyed lemon.
Thoughts: This is one good and tasty Caol ila. All the good traits of a classic Caol Ila but intense and with extra richness and in short – a killer Port Askaig which is far better offering than the 8 Year Old and 100 proof together (even if this is a limited edition). Highly recommended (Especially with the European price).
This is the Emperor’s New Clothes. If it is Caol Ila, and it probably is, it is one of the thinnest, shallowest, most disinteresting Caol Ilas I ever tasted. Toasted marshmallow skins float on top of HINTS of the sesame, lemon, sea-soaked entities that make Caol Ila Caol Ila, but with no actual sea. The normal distillery 12 yo Caol Ila at 46% is much deeper and more interesting, and suddenly quite a bargain despite its inflated price, compared to this $100 nonsense.
It is so hot at 55.58% that it absolutely requires water in the amount that it compromises such a shallow malt. At times it seems more like a gin and tonic, it is so vapid.
It is more like Laphroaig without the sugar water and iodine. But then, what is Laphroaig without all that? Well, what I just described above, with the addition of a little bit of toasted sesame seeds, which is what sets Caol Ila apart from Laphroaig.
This was a gift from a special friend, who liked it a great deal. I keep trying to find worthiness in these burnt sticks floating on a G & T with some Caol Ila essence, but I just get marshmallow skins, which turn into the meringue on a lemon pie once water reaches appropriate levels.
And the mouth feel at the end is something one wants to spit out, mixed with plain old sour.
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to each his own, I can’t argue with your take on this and it’s so subjective and depends on so many factors.