Tag Archives: Caol Ila

Caol Ila 17 Unpeated Style (Special Releases 2015) Review

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)

caol ila 17 unpeatedNose: 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. Continue reading

Whisky Review – Caol Ila 2002 (Feis Ile 2014 bottling)

Today is Caol Ila open day, so let’s review their Feis Ile 2014 bottling. It was the first Special/Feis Ile bottling done by the new distillery manager David Wood who try to carry on and stand up to Billy Stitchell’s work.

So the Feis Ile 2014 bottling? Not much to tell about it. It was matured in refill American oak hogsheads without any fancy finishes or tricks.

Caol Ila 2002 (Feis Ile 2014 bottling) (55.5%, 1500 bottles, £150)

caol ila 2002 feis ile 2014Nose: Sweetness and peat with sweetness at first dominating the nose. Lemon and coconuts, a bit oily. With time there are ashes on the nose. With water it’s spicier and bring out a huge coconut concentration. Continue reading

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes: Caol Ila Unpeated 15 year old (Special Releases 2014)

From one Special Releases whisky to another Special Release whisky. In the last few iterations of Diageo Special Releases lineups, we learned to expect two affordable whiskies in the lineup: The Lagavulin 12yo cask strength and the the one we review today – the Caol Ila Unpeated.

The 2014 edition is 15 year old version, matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, where all previous editions were up to 14 years).

Caol Ila Unpeated 15yo (Special Releases 2014) (60.39%, 10,668 bottles ,£72/€89.95)

caol ila unpeated 15 1998 special releases 2014Nose: Starts with a wave of sweet fruits and it’s very dusty (partially due to the high ABV) and heavy, creamy cereal, lemon and despite it being unpeated, I occasionally do smell some sweet peat. With a few drops of water the ABV drops down and the dusty notes turns to mineral notes with salty touch, it becomes more sweet and fruity with tropical fruits like mango and passion-fruits. Continue reading

Caol Ila 25 Year old review and notes

A new year has started and I hope you don’t have a hangover from last night festivities (at least not a bad one 🙂 ) so let’s welcome in the new year with a mini series of lovely high-end whiskies (you can call them posh if you want to), some are way expensive and some are still affordable – just like the one we review today: Caol Ila 25 Year Old.

It’s the revision that Caol Ila started bottling in 2010 at 43% while previous versions in 2004/5 were bottled at cask strength (if you got any of those, drop me an email!).

Caol Ila 25 (43%, £158/€187.5)

caol ila 25Nose: Hmm, I tend to forget how age diminish the peat impact and so the initial big fruity note caught me a bit off guard but then a gentle peat smoke joins in the background with pine, apples and sweet green melon. there may be even a bit of perfume here. with a few drops of water we also get honey. Continue reading

Whisky Review – Douglas Laing Provenance Young and Feisty Caol Ila 2009

Feis ile is entering its 3rd day and the focus shifts from the west side (Bruichladdich) to the east side as today is the open day for Caol Ila distillery. Unfortunately I didn’t have any new Caol Ila whisky to taste and post tasting notes for you, my loyal readers, but then again, #whiskyfabric is here to rescue me. I’ve asked my friend Tom (of Toms Whisky Reviews), a top bloke and a #whiskyfabric cog, to write here a guest post on Caol Ila for this day and he agreed, so thanks Tom and happy reading!

The whisky community, especially those who partake in the online #whiskyfabric, really do take an active part in each others lives and at times each others blogs, so when Yoav asked if i would write a guest review for his blog I was over the moon.
Yesterday, 25th May, I was at Whisky Stramash and along with catching up with some of the Twitterati and #Whiskyfabric superstars like Johanne McInnes (@whiskylassie) and Rob Bruce (@robster38) I used it as the opportunity to select a dram for which i would write a review.
That dram was the Caol Ila Young and Feisty from the Douglas Laing Provenance range, one of my favourite ranges and one of my favourite whisky companies.
this dram is 5 years old being distilled in 2009 but it has so much more to it, such lovely character, the sweet and sour mix that works really well with smoke.
This may be young, but it’s very upfront about that, and i love it, young peaty whiskies are the way to go and i could easily sit and sip this all night (preferably with an open fire and a big buffalo steak).
thanks to Yoav for the opportunity to present my review here and to Douglas Laing for producing such lovely whisky.

Douglas Laing Provenance Young and Feisty Caol Ila 2009 (46%)

Continue reading

Whisky Review – Caol Ila 12


Caol Ila Distillery (from wikimedia commons)

Last week I’ve finished another whisky bottle which accompanied me for a while – a staple one, the Caol Ila 12. It was one of my earliest purchases when I was concentrating mainly on peated Islay whiskies. I looked at my tasting notes and much to my big surprise I found out I never wrote down proper notes on it, so immediately I ‘exerted myself’ and finished the bottle while writing down the tasting notes – all for you, my readers! Continue reading

Whisky Review – Chieftain’s 1997 Caol Ila 13 year old Jamaican rum cask finish

I have some affinity to rum as it’s my second favorite spirit so whisky matured or finished in rum is always something I’m happy to drink and enjoy. Few weeks ago I shared some Rum and Rum finished whisky with friends and the line up included this one – a relatively unique combo of peated whisky and rum.

Chieftains 1997 Caol Ila 13 year old Jamaican rum cask finish (43%, 1010 bottles)

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Whisky Review – Signatory Caol Ila 1984 27 yo – LMDW Exclusive

Islay, my favorite island in the world and my whisky mecca. I have’t reviewed (yet) any whisky from the island and it’s time to fix that!

Last week I was fortunate to get a set of 4 samples from good friend and the first one I tasted is this Caol Ila 1984 27 yo which came with rave recommendation.

I always wondered how my approach to reviewing drams is impacted from the source recommendation. Yeah, I know, there’s difference when it’s an official sample provided from the distillery (or on its behalf) or if it’s a sample provided by friends or via samples swap – and still, I’m sure there’s some impact in the unconscious part of the brain.

So it’s always a good idea to approach reviewing it (in all cases) slowly and try to judge it professionally and objectively. Of course, if the dram is indeed a very good one – there’s no doubt about it and no dilemma.

But what if I don’t like it? Can it be blamed on different personal taste? Bad day at the office for the taste buds and nose? or just prejudice? What should one do then? Not an easy spot to be.

So how good is this Caol Ila? Were we in agreement or not?

Signatory Caol Ila 1984 27 yo (56.1% ABV, 230 bottles)

caol-ila-1984-27yo-lmdwNose: Woosh – Alcohol bang (56.1% shows some muscle here) and Islay peat baby! Initially some acidic/sharp solvent which disappears quickly, and then the stage is clear and earthy peat rules the stage with background notes of vanilla, lemon custard. With a drop of water, the fruits notes get stronger – sweet candied citrus and lemon.

Palate: Initial burst of oak and vanilla, spicy peat – not as strong as on the nose and again the sweet candied citrus and lemon which once again get stronger when water is added.

Finish: Long finish, lingering peat and oak – very mild and gentle oak impact for 27yo old whisky. Undercurrent of the sweet citrus/lemon once again.

Conclusion: It’s always great to see long aged whisky which behaves and tastes like young one – fresh and lively. This one is one cracking Islay malt – what’s not to like here? high ABV delivers the flavors in maximum settings, peat, great oak impact and sweet fruits. Heaven! Good thing I didn’t land in some uncomfortable spot here.