When it comes to whisky, exclusivity is everything. If it’s hard to come by, it piques our interest and makes the experience of sipping all the more special. Next time you’re in London, make a point to have a dram at The Dorchester as the iconic hotel has just launched a rare single malt of its own.
Hailing from Islay, Scotland, the whisky was distilled exclusively for The Dorchester by Caol Ila Distillery in a continuation of the bar’s own spirits collection. A 250-liter hogshead cask distilled in 1996 yielded 312 bottles, now available only from The Bar at The Dorchester.
At the helm of The Bar for 35 years, manager and alchemist Giuliano Morandin was entrusted with carefully selecting the whisky for the hotel’s new venture.
“After deciding that whisky was the next spirit we wanted to pursue after creating our Old Tom Gin in 2014, we held a series of tastings from different distilleries,” said Morandin, in speaking to Elite Traveler. “We felt that Caol Ila perhaps wasn’t as well-known as others, but it had a great reputation, a unique style and its own character.”
Caol Ila Whisky was distilled, matured and bottled by Douglas Laing & Co, who Morandin described as “the creator and purveyor of the finest Scotch Whiskies since 1948, placing importance on its heritage, just like The Dorchester.”
In terms of tasting notes, he outlined the flavors as “a sweet peat on the nose, a buttery palate with chimney soot and ash. Then a long, burnt home-baking finish. I attribute to tasting a little like a bonfire with those earthy flavors.”
Caol Ila Whisky is available at The Bar at The Dorchester as 50ml servings priced at approximately $33. Morandin recommends adding water to fully appreciate the complex aromas and flavors of the spirit.
“It is strongly agreed that it is best to use the water that made the whisky or water from the source with the same chemistry to ensure that the original character of the whisky is retained,” he explained. Uisge Source water from Islay is available as 100ml bottles priced at approximately $13.
And, if you can’t leave London without it, Caol Ila Whisky can also be purchased as 700ml bottles priced at approximately $200.
The Dorchester is located at 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA. For more information, please visit dorchestercollection.com.