Friday, 6 January 2012

Too Young? Caol Ila Unpeated 8 Year Old

Age restrictions either plague or prop up our society. The age you can legally drive, vote, drink, smoke, have sex, get married or buy fireworks is always hotly debated and I'd argue they are debated with good reason. To define a cut-off point where one is prohibited or enabled is always difficult. Everything from the average maturity through to the social and personal development of the age group has to be taken into account before they can be enabled to legally do something that in many respects has potential to harm. Personal opinion aside; it is easy to see why six year olds aren't allowed to purchase rockets and matches, it makes sense, it would be dangerous to anyone within twenty feet of the child (and also the pyromaniac of a child). Where it becomes difficult is when you decide at what point someone can legally drink and legally drive, which should come first, the intoxicant or the tonne of speeding metal? Or when people should be allowed to vote? Teenagers can be more politically engaged than many adults but then at what age are they deemed (as a whole) to be able to rationally decide who rule the country, thirteen, eighteen, thirty? We pin the moral heart of our country on age restrictions - in the eighties Die Hard was rated 18 whilst later on Saving Private Ryan a 15. Attitudes change, maybe there should there be flexibility, but flexibility is damned difficult to enforce. Common sense is a cop-out for illogical rationale and complete liberalisation allows for self-regulation which can sometimes be taken too far. So age restrictions exist for a reason but they will never appease everyone. A nice inconclusive conclusion there.

When applied to whisky it is equally inconclusive. Every whisky drinker can argue over whether a whisky is young or old enough. To be fair its part of the fun of the drink. I'm a huge advocate of the school of thought that young whiskies can be incredible and offer value for money that older whiskies can't. However for as many awful aged whiskies I try, there are as many young. Of course you can't generalise, each whisky is individual. Despite this, I was sadly disappointed when I recently tried the Caol Ila Unpeated 8 Year Old.

Caol Ila Unpeated 8 Year Old
64.2% - Bottled 2008
Nose: An estery cocktail of diced pears in apple juice spiced with vanilla and cardamon.
Palate: Vanilla and mounds of wood spice with espresso notes to the back of the mouth.
Finish: Dry oak and hints of wormwood, short.
Overall: Very woody with not enough going on to intrigue. For me this is excessively strong at 64.2%, I feel the alcohol is there to disguise an unflattering youth. I loved the 12 year old release of 2011 and was disappointed that this release didn't compare. However whisky would be boring if they were all great, so come back tomorrow for an all time classic!

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