Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrel: Ex-Sherry Refill
Added coloring: No
Owner: North Star Spirits
Average price: € 49.00
Official website: northstarspirits.com
After Wilson&Morgan, another independent bottler, this time from Scotland, with a very special and (I anticipate) not very easy to find bottle.
North Star Spirits is based in Glasgow and specialises in the production of single cask (and gin), buying casks from various Scottish distilleries, resulting in a series of special bottlings, some with a declared origin, others… a little less so.
This particular series features one bottling from each area of Scotland, so we have Highland Star, Speyside Star, Island Star and, of course, Islay Star: each bottle is intended to represent the excellence of its area of origin, choosing a cask from a single distillery whose location is declared only by the longitude and latitude coordinates on the label.
The cask used for this Islay Star comes from 55°51’17.04 “N 6°6’34.68 “W: actually, I have already spoiled the distillery of origin for you, but you can still find it out by searching on Maps.
This bottle is actually even more special: it’s in fact a limited series of 300 pieces selected by Max Righi (well-known independent bottler and founder of Whisky Antique) for Pasticceria Poggiana in Vicenza on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, celebrated by creating a special label (also created by Max Righi with the bar’s logo).
At the patisserie you will also find the other bottles in the series, again with the celebratory label, and I thank them for the sample reviewed.
The natural colour is a pale yellow, very clear and limpid.
On the nose, peat comes through immediately, elegant and sober (sober peat, almost an oxymoron!), the alcohol content (certainly not light) not at all evident. Very nuanced maritime scents, together with a light touch of cherry.
On the palate, the peat becomes sweet, buttery, with the alcoholic thrust pressing on the marine scents. A balance of sweet and salty that finds its ideal companion in the smokiness, with an ethereal presence of spices and dried fruit. On the length, sultanas, the unfailing marker of sherry, emerge.
The finish is quite long, smoky (cigar ash) and sweet at the same time.
The ‘sherried influence’ shifts the flavours away from the classic 12 year old, resulting in an original, new and enjoyable dram, while remaining in the Caol Ila vein.
This bottle is available online, but if you take a trip to Vicenza (and it’s worth it, I guarantee) pass by Poggiana, which is much more than a bakery: wines, spirits and events will not fail to tickle your taste buds.
Reviews of Caol Ila whisky in the blog:
A&G Rare Cask Selection Caol Ila 10yo
Caol Ila 12yo
Caol Ila 18yo
Caol Ila 18yo Unpeated 2017
Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2018
Caol Ila Moch
Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength
Càrn Mòr Vertical
Dramfool Cola Ali 4
Dramfool Cola Ali 5
Golden Drops Caol Ila 8yo
Gordon&MacPhail Reserve Caol Ila 2008
Morisco Spirits Caol Ila 11yo
Signatory Caol Ila 1994 Port Wood Finish
The Islay Star 11yo
Valinch & Mallet Caol Ila 11yo
Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 2008-2020 Quercus Alba