It’s no news that Diageo release 2 affordable whiskies each year with their Special Releases annual series, The Lagavulin 12 and an unpeated release from Caol Ila.
The Lagavulin 12 2015 was already reviewed here (very favorable), so let’s check the other candidate this year: a 17 yo unpeated Caol Ila.
Interesting to see that it boast a jump of two years over last year’s release so it’s not coming from the same stock.
Caol Ila 17 Unpeated Style (Special Releases 2015) (55.9%, £89.95/€107/$144.99)
Nose: Dusty, oh so dusty, much more dusty than the 15 yo, that I had to re-check the bottle for whisky turbidity. Vanilla and honey, traces of peat smoke (even here you can’t really escape it ah?), pears, peaches and golden apples. After a few more minutes in the glass, it gets less dusty (although it’s still there in big way), sweeter and fruitier.
Palate: Vanilla, oak spices, very noticeable peat smoke, apricots, zesty and citrus oils,
Finish: Medium, dusty, citrus oils, peat smoke and weak spearmint leaves.
Thoughts: It’s not bad, but personally I don’t think it stands up to the 15yo unpeated from last year. Also, out of the two affordable whiskies in SR2015, the Lagavulin knocks it dead, although it’s a matter of personal preference and peat tolerance.