Review: Caol Ila 22 Years Old 1992 – 53.212 Peat smoke and Para Handy puffers

Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Caol Ila distillery

Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask 53.212 Peat smoke and Para Handy puffers

ABV: 56.4%

Cost: £89.60 from SMWS [sold out]

Score: 87/100

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

What they say:

53.212 Peat smoke and Para Handy puffers

Liquorice, fennel, Christmas trees and peat fires; toasted nuts, crusty bread; harbours, first aid boxes and sweet popcorn – the classic nose was rich and varied. The palate was intensely smoky, tarry and sweet, with flavours of chewed pencils, toasted pine needles, leather, sweet peat and soot; plus smoked mussels, sea-spray, barbecued scallops and prawns, sugared almonds and treacle toffee and finally a suspicion of bicycles. The reduced nose evoked peat smoke wafting down an Islay street in winter, pipe tobacco and Para Handy puffers. The palate was a delight of toasted marshmallows, Germolene and dying barbeques. From the ‘Sound of Islay’.

Drinking tip: Perfect for a beach bonfire – preferably to celebrate defeating and humiliating your enemies

Date Distilled: 17 January 1992 Colour: Pale gold Age: 22 years Flavour : Peated Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead Whisky Region: Islay Outturn: 291 bottles

SMWS 53.212 Peat smoke and para handy puffers

What I say:

Sampled 13th March 2015 at SMWS Queen Street, Edinburgh. Sadly I had wanted to sample the newest grain bottling from the SMWS (G14.1 from Dumbarton) but I arrived at the bar just after the last dram from the last bottle had been purchased. So instead I decided to back-to-back compare the latest Caol Ila (SMWS Distillery Code #53) 53.222 with a previous bottling, this 53.212.

Colour:

Light straw gold (5/20) medium tears

Nose:

Less peaty than 53.222, gentle peat smoke not as oily, more toffee and malt, pine and oak wood, liquorice, and calcium of seashells or shell beaches and bonfires

Taste:

Treacle toffee and fudge, rich toffee malt, thick and oily, mouthcoating, salt caramel and briny sea spray, shellfish mussels and scallops barbecue roasted with a little BBQ sauce, more smoke, bbq beef monster munch snacks

Finish:

Long, sweet bbq meats and peat smoke some tannic and almost leathery oak wood and treacle toffee

Overall:

Of the two expression I definitely preferred this one. The increased maturation time had softened the peat smoke a lot in this though it was still ample. The resulting flavours were a little of a culinary masterpiece! A meal of a dram if smoky shellfish is your bag.