Caol Ila (which means “The sound of Islay” in Gaelic) is one of the main signature malts in the Diageo blends, but not only as a peated whisky. We all know that Caol Ila produces unpeated whisky, as there’s a (now) annual release of this unpeated whisky as part of the annual Special Releases by Diageo (I have a share of last year’s version waiting to be picked up, and once I get it, I’ll post a review of it), and about a third of the annual production is unpeated and used in the Johnny Walker blends to add a nutty character.
In terms of Capacity, Caol Ila’s 6.5 million liters puts it 9th overall, and was surpassed by more recent expansions (and openings) of several distilleries, but one must keep in mind that Caol Ila has held this capacity since the early 1970s expansion (the very same that kept Brora distilling once the Islay drought of 1969 was over).
Caol Ila’s core range consists of the 12, the 18 and the 25 year old expressions, with a Moscatel finished Distiller’s Edition and an excellent Natural Cask Strength edition I reviewed here. The core range is all peated. There are also numerous independent bottlings of Caol Ila.
Caol Ila 25 (43% ABV)
Appearance: Gold, slow with somewhat thick legs.
Nose: Fruity with notes of pineapple, starfruit and melon with underlying notes of gentle smoke, vanilla, light sherry spices, sweet perfume and honey.
Palate: Sherry sweetness with light pepper notes and very gentle peat in a delicate velvety delivery.
Linger: Spicy linger on the sides of the tongue, light peat sweetness and hints of fruit in a gentle and medium length linger.
Gentle and dignified, this is a beautiful example of how nicely this whisky ages. Solid dram!
Thank you, Ofer for sharing this cracking dram!