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Gordon & Macphail Discovery Range - Caol Ila 13yo Single Malt Whisky Review

Gordon & Macphail Discovery Range - Caol Ila 13yo Single Malt Whisky Review

Ex-bourbon casks

ABV 43%

Colour: White wine

Nose: Sweet, fruity and tantalisingly smoky. Imagine a tandoori tropical fruit platter which has grilled pineapple, sweet lime, kiwis, mangoes, lemon rind drizzled with manuka honey. Very juicy and mouthwatering. I'm liking this already! A little rest brings out mint, caramel popcorn, grilled lemongrass, coconut and blueberry stilton cheese. This is a lovely nose. Dilution makes it a bit dull. Avoidable.

Palate: Follows the nose mostly with its sweet, fruity, smoky opening but it is also a lot more savoury. The fruit platter now has meat-honey glazed ham and bacon followed by sooty ashy peat. It's distinctly briney like nori which accentuates the sweetness and the peat. Mouthfeel is decent and has a good peppery(white) development on the mid-palate. Overall very moreish and dangerously drinkable. Water upsets the balance by making it spicy and a bit carbolic like lifebuoy soap. Avoidable.

Finish: is light but long. Sweet effervescent peat smoke lingers with lemon oil and astringent oak.

Overall: This is a lovely Caol Ila(aren't they all!)which ticks all the right boxes, well at least mine. It is sweet, fruity, citrusy and gorgeously smoky without the peat being overpowering. The balance is just perfect, aided not only by the inherently solid distillate but also by some quality bourbon maturation and excellent vatting. It is one of those drams you almost don't take too seriously until you do and realise that there is so much more going on than anticipated, even at 43%. I would love to slip this in a blind tasting only to see the reaction it receives as it is really hard not to like it irrespective of where you are in your whisky journey. Well done G&M!

With this I conclude the Discovery range series reviews. Overall the series as an introduction to bourbon, sherry and smoky flavours, does what is says on the tin well.The Caol Ila would be my top pick followed by the Miltonduff as stand alone bottles. Many thanks once again to @carissahickling for the samples.


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