Wednesday 19 October 2022

Tasted #597: Caol Ila Manager's Dram Aged 15 Years (TimeforWhisky 10 Year Anniversary Dram)

Number 7 in our 10th Anniversary line-up comes again from Islay, in the form of the legendary Caol Ila "The Manager's Dram" Aged 15 Years. Bottled in 1990 and never officially sold, this release was given to friends and family of the Distillery, but if you want one today, you may need to fork out around £8,500...

Yesterday I spoke about the Bowmore Aston Martin DB5 1964 Black Bowmore, and how I'd tried the original release 5 years earlier at a Japanese bar (Rogin's Tavern). What I didn't mention was that there was one single whisky at the bar more expensive than the Black Bowmore, by quite a margin. It was this Caol Ila Manager's Dram. I didn't taste it, and had wanted to ever since.

About a year ago I posted the above photo on Instagram asking "Name a legendary dram you haven’t yet tried, but really want to?". It was done purely to spark some conversation, but then about 6 months later at a tasting with friends, a small sample was slipped to me by a very generous friend, with the label reading "Caol Ila Manager's Dram". 

Mind. Blown. Finally, I was going to get to experience the whisky many refer to as the most sublime expression of sherry and peat ever bottled....

Caol Ila "The Manager's Dram" Aged 15 Years (63% ABV, 15yo, Islay, Scotland, £8,500)
Colour: Intense coffee copper.

Nose: Huge, fruity sherry, followed immediately by smoky ham, salted plums, old leather, humdor. The notes just keep coming - it's hugely expressive, especially considering the 63% ABV. The salted plums become bonfire-smoked, with a side of salted chocolate, and some bacon.

Palate: Big, zesty sherry. Clean, but old school if that makes sense? Slightly dusty, but in no way sulphured. These are the casks you dream of!  Chocolate orange, leather, furniture polish, salted plums again, orange spices, oak, and salted nuts. With water, some maple bacon and a little more salinity.

Finish: Long oak tannins, BBQ meat brushed with a cherry glaze. It just goes on and on..with bacon through to the very end (with water, it's more of a smoked duck note).

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale):  94/100. Worthy of the hype? Dare I say it...yes.


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