The most affordable bottling in the recent batch from Maltbarn was this Caol Ila 2003, bottled after 13 years is a sherry cask.
Caol Ila 13 yo 2003 (55,5%, Maltbarn 2016, sherry cask, 175 btl.)
Nose: sweet smoky notes. There’s banana cake, dried apple and orange sweetness, wood smoke, a bit of pepper too. Light medicinal notes in the background. Whiffs of eucalyptus. Seems pretty standard at first, but it gains complexity and elegance over time. Really nice.
Mouth: punchy, quite a malty onset, with some big smoky notes and bonfire embers. Mesquite. Hints of citrus zest and acrid berries. Herbal touches. Liquorice and aniseed. A light, leafy bitter edge.
Finish: long, ashy and spicy with echoes of medicinal smoke.
A beautiful Caol Ila. The sherry cask did just enough to temper the fierce Islay character and add some fruity and herbal notes. All good. Around € 120, not cheap.