The Fèis Ìle 2021 bottling from Caol Ila distillery was matured in refill American oak and finished in high char Moscatel-seasoned casks. Actually that makes it a cask strength version of the common Caol Ila Distillers Edition, which is also 12 years of age and double matured in the same casks.
Caol Ila 12 yo (57%, OB for Fèis Ìle 2021, Moscatel cask finish, 3696 btl.)
Nose: peaty and briney, rather typical for a middle-aged Caol Ila. Plenty of green lemons at first, then peaches and nice hints of tangerine peels after a while. Subtle mint, as well as a prickly sea breeze and rounder honey notes. Gets drier and ashier over time, with wet earthy soil and an increasing hint of bread crust.
Mouth: quite sweet. A lot of honeyed notes now, as well as raisins. Hints of caramel but also a good dose of white pepper. Mid-palate it becomes quite spicy, with liquorice, more of this bread crust and a charred, almost bitter edge. Dried seaweed and salty notes in the end.
Finish: quite long, ashy and saline, with tangy citrus peels and peppery warmth.
I wonder whether they use a Setúbal or Valencian style of Moscatel for seasoning (fresh, honeyed, very floral) or Moscatel from the sherry region (darker, raisiny, oxidatively aged). Either way this ticks the boxes of Caol Ila, with plenty of punch and an extra layer of sweetness. Decent complexity and not too winey. Malts.com still doesn’t ship abroad (boo) but now it is also available from TyndrumWhisky or The Whisky Barrel.