Today is Caol Ila day at Feis Ile 2017 and let me tell you something: Caol Ila may be the least sexy (or most boring – up for you to decide) distillery on Islay. We’re so familiar with their standard and unchanged lineup expressions and with no new expressions popping out from the distillery, it seems like Caol Ila is a bit forgotten. But let me tell you something: the spirit they produce at Caol Ila? It is underrated.
There are some jolly good whiskies coming out from those copper stills. Old Caol Ila whiskies are amazing and even the younger whiskies can be good.
Want a proof? Today’s whisky is your evidence. Initially I planned a review of te Official Caol Ila 25 yo which is more than decent and is available for purchase for a very decent price, but I ‘slipped’ and drank it all without writing notes. Oops.
So next Caol Ila on the shelf was this 19 year old Caol Ila bottled by SMWS. It’s a clear proof that Caol Ila whisky is good and also my first SMWS review in a long while. Damn I should review more of those!
SMWS 53.233 Fireman’s Gloves on a Mermaid (19 Year Old Caol Ila) (60.5%, 258 bottles)
Nose: Full of brine and salt, pudding-y, gentle peat smoke and bonfire smoke from afar, somewhat medicinal although it’s not laphroaig-esque and juicy.
Palate: Intense beast. It’s chewy, oily and thick with lots of peat, white pepper, some greenery and hay, soot, candied fruit with lemon juice and salt sprinkled on top.
Finish: Medium-long length, salt, brine, candied fruit, lemon, white pepper and lingering smoke
Thoughts: This is one good intense and tasty whisky. The Caol Ila spirit met here a good cask and was bottled without added caramel or going through chill filtering. The result is clear proof that Caol Ila whisky is (or can be) good. Slainte!