Caol Ila – do we really need an introduction here? By far the largest distillery on the Island of Islay on the west-coast of Scotland, producing the vast majority of peated content of the mother company’s blended whiskies, and undoubtedly their competitors’ as well. Still, there is enough left to have a small range of single malts under their own label, and sell enough to independent bottlers to make it known to most single malt connoisseurs around the globe.
46% abv, €50
Nose: This is a beefy, ashy Caol Ila from the moment the bottle opens, exactly how we like it. A warm sauce of red berries and cranberries with a spicy treat of cinnamon, (star)anise and nutmeg, over a hot roast.
Palate: Ooh… that’s a spicy motherf… Lots of white pepper and fresh ginger right before a creamy chocolate fudge kicks in, with cranberries and smoky campfire embers.
Finish: long, warming and spicy. Chocolate pudding with sweet cranberries sauce and, yes, the fiery embers of that campfire again.
Conclusion: A 12 year old Caol Ila. Expect what you think you will expect, and you are probably spot on. Lovely, with hair on her teeth.
.this sample was kindly given to us by Gordon & MacPhail from their the Wood Makes the Whisky programme.