2008 Hepburn’s Choice Caol Ila 5 Years Review

2008 Hepburn's Choice Caol Ila 5 Years Review

This 2008 Hepburn’s Choice Caol Ila 5 Years was the first Hepburn’s I ever bought. Hepburn’s Choice is a fairly new NDP and even newer to the USA and California with K&L being a major patron of theirs. A lot of their offerings tend to be on the younger side of things but end up being quite good because they’re treated right.

In K&L’s Words: 2008 Hepburn’s Choice Caol Ila 5 Years

“The youthful vigor of a young mezcal meets the fat-fruited, supple texture of the malt master; that’s the best way to describe this whisky. Lots of smoke and immature phenolic action quickly turns rich and round and finishes with a mouthful of stone fruit and citrus. Absolutely one of the most exciting whiskies we have on the shelf at any price and a true stunner for those who appreciate gusto. A whopping 61.1% brings the intensity!”

Gusto and intensity, that’s exactly what you need when it comes to young whisky, especially young Islay Whiskies like this 2008 Hepburn’s Choice Caol Ila 5 Years. They need to be delivered as close to their natural state as possible to balance out the spirity nature and show off what they really have. Full cask strength, non-chill filtered and natural color is the best representation of any whisky, but it goes doubly so for the youngins.

2008 Hepburn’s Choice Caol Ila 5 Years Info

Region: Islay, Scotland

Distiller: Caol Ila
Bottler: Hunter Laing
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-bourbon
Age: 5 years
ABV: 61.1%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Price: $50

2008 Hepburn’s Choice Caol Ila 5 Years Review

EYE
Light yellow – almost clear

NOSE
Spirity vanilla, peat, waxy citrus, smarties, smoked meat and “birthday cake” sweetness. Nothing nuanced here even with water, it’s a bruiser.

PALATE
Smoked meat, pumpkin, nuts, vanilla spirit, cinnamon and nutmeg spice, saline and a bit of fruit and honey that pops more with water.

FINISH
Long peat, smoked meat, honied fruit, spice and oily nuts.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Ok balance, full body and a slick smooth feel.

OVERALL
2008 Hepburn’s Choice Caol Ila 5 Years is an intense whisky. It’s not delicate, nuanced or refined, but what it lacks in elegance it makes up for in presence as it bowls through the senses. Its bold straightforward aroma is quite appealing in an odd way and in a similar odd way the flavor is also appealing with the sweet spirity nature working in concert with the heavy layers of peat.

Young whiskies can be good and young Islay whiskies can be great if treated properly. The peat masks some of the spirity nature and acts as a counter weight to the naturally sweet new-make. If you haven’t tried any young Islays like this 2008 Hepburn’s Choice Caol Ila 5 Years then I recommend you give some a try. They’re almost always fun and interesting.

SCORE: 83/100 (B)

2008 Hepburn's Choice Caol Ila 5 Years Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 83
  • Palate - 84
  • Finish - 83
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 83

Summary

2008 Hepburn's Choice Caol Ila 5 Years is a fun tasty whisky.

2008 Hepburn's Choice Caol Ila 5 Years Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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