Isle of Islay
Fresh and citric, this is an excellent example of Caol Ila sure to make a stimulating apéritif. Delightfully rich, with a fruitiness usually just hinted at in Caol Ila, it’s a fine dram that’s even better with a drop ofwater.
Appearance: Pale yellow gold. Moderate beading.
Nose: Surprisingly weighty, with a meaty backbone that doesn’t rely on the distillery’s usual smoke for depth. Initially sharp and prickly, the first impression is of lemon zest, edging towards lemon drizzle cake and lemon sherbet sweets, or perhaps honeysuckle, vanilla cream and egg custard, along with toffee, green-leaf herbs, fruit gums and soft spiciness. Later, a dry minerality builds in the glass, adding a chalk and flint austerity. The addition of water softens the nose and adds fleeting scents of pine-sap and artist’s studio, against a maritime background.
Body: Weighty, with fast running legs.
Palate: The taste is sweet (boiled sweets), acidic (bitter lemon) and salty, walking a knife edge between all three. Occasionally it slips into sour orchard and sweet candied fruit, then into intense salted caramel and toffee. Hints of sea-spray dance the edges, along with barrel-char smokiness, oak, black-pepper spiciness and fresh clean notes. Finally, the fruit and char unite in triumph, as fresh-baked apple pies. Water amplifies both fruit and spice, with liquorice and orange zest, the spice gaining heat and a hint of chilli. With water, these primary tastes soften yet remain clear, becoming more rounded and accessible.
Finish: Warming, soft and long, with notes of vanilla and spiced pastry, succeeded by aniseed, polished oak, bittersweet liquorice and a last burst of red berries, which fades to soft spice, sweetness and oak.
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A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt. From Caol Ila, an active Isle of Islay distillery.
A twelfth limited release of unpeated CAOL ILA.
From a batch made once a year, from unpeated malt, for blending in the “HighlandStyle”.
The oldest of these expressions so far in this series. From refill American Oak hogs heads.
Limited availability worldwide.
Established in 1846 near Port Askaig, by Hector Henderson. Caol Ila means “Sound of Islay” in Gaelic. A waterfall supplied power for the barley hoists and pressure for the fire hydrants. Today, a novel heat exchanger uses the sea to cool hot process water before returning it to the condensers.
CAOL ILA has been regularly available as an award winning 12 year old and 18 year old only since 2002. Both won IWSC Gold Medals in 2004, 2005 and 2008. The 12 year old also won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2010 and 2016 and was acclaimed a Master at Scotch Whisky Masters 2010. It won an IWSC Gold Medal in 2012 and ISC Gold in 2014. Other awards have included the Chairman’s Trophy in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge (USC) in 2012, Best Single Malt Scotch 12 years and under at IWC in 2015, Best in Category (11-20yo) Gold at LA Spirits in 2015 and Gold at the Spirits International Prestige Awards (SIP) in2015.
The Distillers Edition won Gold & Best in Class at IWSC in 2009, then was voted Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It also won Gold at ISC 2009 and again at SWM 2010. In 2010 new 25 year old and Moch bottlings further extended the range. The 25yo won Best Islay Malt 21 years and over at WWA 2011 and Best Peated Whisky, Ultra Premium at the Malt Maniacs Awards (MMA) in 2015. Moch was voted a Master at SWM 2011, wining Gold in 2014 and 2015. It also won Gold at IWSC in 2014 and 2015. The first unpeated Special Release was voted Best Islay (unpeated) single malt under 12 yo at WWA in2007.
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