The Whisky Tasting Club

Monday 26th, Caol Ila day

last time we were at the festival, caol ila day was accompanied by a full scale gale. Confident of no repeat, this year we chose to take a trip on a sailing ship organised by The whisky lounge. The Bessie Ellen is a Ketch that runs pleasure cruises and ships luxury goods.

Despite never having sailed, I am a little bit into ships, due to repeated readings of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubery and Maturin series. A whisky tasting on a boat was then for me a perfect combo, and happily the weather was ideal.

The boat pulled out from Port Askaig into the quite extrordinary 8 knots current, nominally under sail but really just coasting. There were about 30 punters, including Billy Abbot , one of our first ever punters, and other whisky exchange folk.

The whisky was six Caol Ila. First up was Moch, always a favorite, a pleasant summery dram. Next up were the last three unpeated releases. The 2011 , 2012 and 2013 versions. The unpeated Caol Ila is one of Dominic Roskrow’s favorites. It is a fruit salad of a dram and fairly unique. iirc the malt maniacs used it in a blind tasting and very few guessed the distillery. The 2013 version is called Stitchell Reserve in honour of recently retired master distiller Billy Stitchell. To me, it was quite peaty, but what do I know!

The last two were crackers, and both new to me. The distillery bottling 25 year old was deep, smooth and really well balanced.

The Frisky whisky, a 27 year old bottled by John Milroy by Berry Brothers is a more lively, jumpy whisky full of life and peat. Both were excellent.

Great trip, thoroughly recommended.


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