Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrel: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry Oloroso hogshead first fill
Added coloring: No
Average price: € 99.00
Official website: dramfool.com
One of the beauties of the world of whisky is that you never run out of things to discover: distilleries you never knew existed, bottles you’ve never heard of before, new ageings… and independent bottlers who have been in business for a long time but you’ve never heard of before.
So here is Dramfool, or Bruce Farquhar, who since 2015 has been working in Scotland bottling limited editions (single cask) of Scotch whisky, drawing from the wide range of Scottish distilleries, including Bowmore, Bruichladdich and Lochindaal. There are many interesting bottles, including Octomore and Port Charlotte, some with importante ageing and others whose provenance is not declared on the label.
In fact, the distillery that sells its cask doesn’t always grant permission to the independent bottler to use its name (a practice that, in time, will become more and more widespread), especially when there’s a broker involved, which leads to inventing “evocative” names for their whisky, such as this Cola Ali.
This is a distillate from Islay, aged 11 years, which produced 160 cask strength bottles and was presented as the twenty-fifth bottling of Dramfool, soon to be followed on these pages by its little brother, Cola Ali 5, same ageing but finished in Pedro Ximénez casks.
It’s not very difficult to figure out the distillery of origin, but I’ve given you a little help anyway…
Thanks to Bruce for the generous sample.
Copper in the glass.
Acrid and marine peat on the nose, with a clear component of citrus fruits (tangerines and oranges), nutmeg, liquorice, almonds, sultana bread. Cocoa powder. Wood polish in the background. The gradation does not pinch at all, accompanying with discretion a very deep and full ensemble.
And the peat is pleasantly mineral again on the palate, burnt on burning wood, with a spicy push of chili pepper followed by olives in brine, licorice, citrus, bitter cacao, hazelnuts, a hint of star anise. It flows down smoothly, and you realise the alcohol content when it has been beating down for a while.
The finish is long, of citrus, toasted wood, licorice, anise, hazelnut.
Dangerously drinkable, the peat is well integrated and plays with the other aromas, hiding the pitfalls of the alcohol, which takes you by surprise when you are sipping with carefree enjoyment. A well-conceived trap, into which you can willingly let yourself fall.
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 Natural Cask Strength
Càrn Mòr Vertical
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
Reviews of Dramfool whisky in the blog:
Dramfool Ben Nevis 1996
Dramfool Carsebridge 1976
Dramfool Cola Ali 5
Dramfool Invergordon 31yo
Dramfool Malt Can Heal 1992
Dramfool North British 30yo
Dramfool Sly Lichen 10yo