Caol Ila



Caol Ila distillery is situated at Port Askaig on Loch Nam Ban on the north of Islay and overlooking the Paps of Jura across the Sound of Islay.

The distillery was founded or built in 1846 by Hector Henderson but in 1857 his business failed and the distillery was purchased by Bulloch Lade & Co. and operated until 1927 when "The Distillers Co. Ltd" took over.

In 1972 the distillery was demolished to make way for a newer and much larger one with six stills instead of the original two, on the same site. Pruduction resumed in 1974. In 1986 it bacame part of UDV (Diageo) who still operate it today.


Distillery photos by Whisky Emporium Photography (2013)

More great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness







Original Distillery Bottlings (OB)

General whisky characteristics: Peat and (wood) smoke


Caol Ila, 12y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Tasted at Munich Whisky Festival 2007

  Nose: A peat smoking chimney in Winter

Palate: Smoky, peaty almonds. Slightly oily.

Overall Impression: As I say, CIs should be CS, around 60% ABV. This had all the right direction, but it was just too little.



Caol Ila, 12y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow (9ct) gold

Nose: Atlantic harbour / remote jetty with raspberry undertones. A smokiness grows steadily over minutes in the glass. Maritime, coastal and fresh.

Palate: Light and fresh with a mixturs of peat and wood smoke, but the raspberries of the nose are now pears on the palate.

Finish: Long, fresh, lightly smoky.

Overall Impression: Very good everyday peaty whisky.



Caol Ila, 18y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Tasted at Munich Whisky Festival 2007


Nose: Not so much smoke and peat, this is fresh with grass and straw, plus a little wood. After the 3rd & 4th nosing, a little more smoke starts to appear.

Palate: Sea air, oak, pears, a little grass, hay, straw and malt.

Overall Impression: A good whisky, but again it would benefit from being a little stronger. This one actually reminds me of a Scottish jetty in Autumn.



Caol Ila, 25y, 58.4% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Tasted at Munich Whisky Festival 2007


First Tasting:

Nose: Malt, smoke and new paint. Eventually, after further nosing, the floral aroma of an alpine meadow begins to come through. This eventually turns to oak.

Palate: Smoke and malt with a nutty cereal and pungent dark fruits.

With 3 drops of water per 1cl: Magic! A smooth, gentle Caol Ila.



Caol Ila, 25y, 58.4% ABV

Bottle No. 510

Typical cost of this bottle;


Second Tasting:

After the vertical tasting in Munich 2007, I revisited the 25y at a later date:

Nose: Here is the first surprise. No trace of the typical smoke and peat of 'normal' CI's, just a faint smell of an island dockyard combined with a barrel load of freshly delivered barley. This really does smell of fresh barley, just like you see on distillery tours.

Palate: Overpowering alcohol, perhaps too much, so for me, it needs water. This is quite unusual as I really like Caol Ila, especially at cask strength around 60%, but this just seems too much.

With 6 drops of water: This is now a wonderfully smooth, but very powerful Caol Ila. It has all the 'right' attributes of smoke, a little peat and a great 'Scottish jetty' feeling with lots of Scottish sea air. The texture is smooth and velvety, which is much more refined than the CI's I have tried up to date. Perhaps this is what the extra years do for it. If so, then I wholeheartedly approve. This is definitely no juvenile; it is a refined and fully mature adult in the prime of life.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is long with peat and plenty of tingle on the front and middle of the tongue.

Overall impression: My first and over-riding impression of this whisky is one of smooth elegance, in a peaty and smoky kind of way. It is a very refined and mature adult, but not for the faint-hearted. It needs water, but getting the right amount and balance correct is far from easy. When you do get it right, you have an excellent whisky, perhaps even a great. But get it wrong and you have something very ordinary at best. My tip: Persevere until you succeed, it's well worth it!



Caol Ila,  Unpeated, 8y, 59.8% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Tasted at Munich Whisky Festival 2007


Nose: Clean and fresh, almost a swimming pool with bio apples and a faint hint of leather.

Palate: Initially fierce with lots of alcohol burn. Sharp apple and malt flavours.

With 3 drops of water: Spicy malt.

2 more drops of water: Now a much more floral nose. Fresh air, malt and still spicy. Also dried apples.

2 more drops of  water: No longer fiery (spicy), now very smooth, but quite bland.

Overall Impression: I always say that I like my CIs to be as near to 60% as possible, but this one really disappointed. There was always something missing (PEAT!!!) and it never really caught the imagination.



Caol Ila, 'Moch', 43% ABV

Initially bottled for Friends of Classic Malts

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Straw

Nose: Creamy fruit (specifically papaya, pineapple, pear and a trace of apple) with a background of good earthy (peat) smoke. As the minutes pass the peat and smoke intensify as the fruit diminishes.

Palate: Peach, papaya and mango are the fruits on the palate which join that peaty smoke. This is also quite sweet. Eventually the fruit fades as the peat expands and leads the experience into the finish.

Finish: Quite long with sweet peat.

Overall Impression: My feeling is that this is a quite young Caol Ila, but yet it doesn't have the rawness of many other young offerings. It's surprisingly fruity for a Caol Ila too which I found rather pleasant, so I do hope this bottling is included in their general range rather than being a one-off for the "Friends".






Caol Ila, Distillery only edition, 58.4% ABV

Cask Strength, bottled 2007

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: Starts quite slowly but builds to a rubbery Atlantic breeze with some fruitiness reminiscent of pear and vanilla.

Palate: Very creamy mouth-feel with strong peat and a hint of custard (vanilla sauce).

With 4 drops of water: The nose is lighter whereas the palate is slightly more intense with peatiness and that fruitiness in the background.

With 4 more drops of water: The nose is lighter again but has also developed a light farminess, maybe even grassy. The palate now has yet more peat and vanilla.

Finish: Long. Very long with the drops of water.

Overall Impression: This was a little slow and subdued until the water was added, then it really came alive.




Caol Ila, FOCM, 43% ABV

Bottled 2007 for Friends of the Classic Malts

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale yellow

Nose: The light rubberiness of a freshly inflated ballon - party anyone? Hints of lemon grass? With time in the glass this develops a distinct freshness alongside earthy peatiness. Can I say "peated open-air swimming pool"? Ahh, childhood holidays at Butlins in the 1960's and those swimming pools!

Palate: Watery mouth-feel with peaty melon. That's it.

Finish: Surprisingly quite long with peaty melon.

Overall Impression: A slight disappointment, it needs more ooomph!





Distiller's Editions


Caol Ila, 'Moscatel', distilled 1993, bottled 2006, 43% ABV

Distiller's Edition

Typical cost of this bottle;

Tasted at Munich Whisky Festival 2007

  Nose: Warm fire with wood and a little merlot. Then some leather and oak starts to become apparent.

Palate: Initial peaty wine is followed by spicy liquorice and then fades to grainy hay.

Overall Impression: A good wood finish with a very interesting character.



Caol Ila, 'Moscatel', distilled 1997, bottled 2010, 43% ABV

Distiller's Edition

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright and sunny 21ct gold

Nose: Wood smoke initially but followed by a gently expanding peatiness and raspberry. Some slightly antiseptic notes appear after a few minutes, but still with that fruitiness in evidence.

Palate: Creamy light peat with vanilla and wood, with a smokiness steadily growing.

Finish: Long, creamy, lightly smoky.

Overall Impression: Very good, most enjoyable and excellent value for money.





Feis Ile Releases


Caol Ila, Feis Ile 2012, 60.4% ABV

Distilled 15.1.2001, bottled 2012

Cask No.300897

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow gold

Nose: Smoky, peaty fruity and woody all together. The fruitiness suggests blackberry or even banana stem whilst the woodiness is quite mild.

Palate: This is really intense, probably due to the high ABV. The smokiness on the palate is a combination of peat and wood smoke then the fruitiness translates directly from the nose. I'm thinking it needs water.

6-8 drops of water: The nose now has more pronounced smokiness alongside some fishiness. The palate has a much smoother or creamier mouth-feel as opposed to the intense tingle without water. The fruitiness is now more mellow and tropical.

Finish: Very long with or without water.

Overall Impression: For the best experience this needs water and time (patience). Lovely.






Independent Bottlers (IB)


Creative Whisky Co. Cask Sample

Caol Ila, distilled 1995, sampled 2010, 'cask strength'


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale yellow

Nose: Lots of smoke, but plenty of fruit too. Wonderful. Smouldering wood with a lump of peat thrown on for good measure, but that fruitiness lingers in the background. I can't determine the individual fruits, but definitely a strong sense of berries.

Palate: The fruits (berries) are first to announce their presence on the palate, followed shortly afterwards by a wonderfulyl rich (wood) smoke alongside a peaty earthiness.

4 drops of water: The Atlantic Ocean makes an immediate appearance on the nose, the palate is more intense.

4 more drops of water: A fantastic nose of smoke, peat, Atlantic Ocean and fresh Islay shellfish. The water once again intensifies the palate.

4 more drops of  water: The nose can only be described as "outdoor Islay at its best" whereas the palate is a cocktail of intense fruity smoke.

Overall Impression: An inspired whisky. I love it!



JWWW, (Jack Wieber), Caol Ila 15y, 58.1% ABV

Scottish Castles series

Typical cost of this bottle;


Nose: Peat and smoke, that famous Yorkshire Dales chimney in Winter.

Palate: Deliciously smooth. Smoke, peat, leaves, moss and kippers.

With 3 drops of water: Even more smoke, getting smoother with a second drop or two until it eventually migrates to a gentle Islay beach on a slightly misty, smoky Winter's day.

Finish: Very long.

Overall Impression: I still say this is my favourite Caol Ila. It has everything I look for and hope for in a CI. In fact, this is the one which first reminded me of my beloved Yorkshire Dales in Winter! Just imagine, walking through the dales from Pen-y-Ghent to Ingleborough. Nothing! Desolation! Then you come over the brow of a hill and see one row of cottages, chimney smoking as they burn wood and peat. That one smell of fresh countryside, smoke and peat is exactly what is in this bottle! I always say that I don't 'Score' whiskies. But if I did, this would get 11 out of 10 for the memory factor!



Samaroli, Caol Ila 1968, 'Full Proof', 57% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;


Nose: Hints of Atlantic, smoke and gentle fruit.

Palate: A slightly spicy dram with a light body but absolutely full of wood-smoke, sea-air, peat and that fruit again.

Overall Impression: A last Caol Ila at the end of a long day was an absolute delight!



Wemyss, Caol Ila, distilled 1984, 46%

Labelled 'Crumpets and Cordite'

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Very pale

Nose: Another Summer evening in Italy, this time sitting in the lemon groves on the banks of lake Garda.
This nose is one of citrus and a lake shore, not smoky or salty like the Atlantic, just a very pleasant lakeside.
As I give the whisky and my nose a little time to acclimatise the aromas gain more complexity as they begin to include more floral notes with only the slightest hint of smoke or sea in the background.

Palate: I certainly didn't get any 'cordite' but as for the crumpets? Yes, I can almost agree there, but this is a very difficult one to place. This is a 1984 Caol Ila which leads me to think that it is of a decent age, so I wish to try something ......

A couple of drops of water: The nose doesn't change, but just 2 drops of water really bring this one to more life. It almost sparkles, but still no typical Caol Ila smoke or Atlantic.

Two more drops of water: help again and the Atlantic just begins to come through on the palate. So does the cordite a little!
Finally there's a hint of smoke.

Overall Impression and comments: This reminds me in a way of the Caol Ila 25y that I tried, but without the ABV. It needs water and really benefits from it, but the 46% ABV lets it down a little as I would have liked to carry on experimenting to bring out more flavour, but that's just not possible with 46%.
I do like my CIs to be up around 60% and this is no different, if it were CS at almost 60% I am sure it would be a great dram, but at 46%, it needs just a little too much water to bring out the real character (in my opinion).

My Plea: Please Wemyss, give your Caol Ilas more ABV, they really benefit from it, especially as this needs water!



Chieftain's, Caol Ila, distilled 1993, bottled 2006, 46%

Manzanilla Cask, cask No. 9035/352

Typical cost of this bottle;

The bottle picture is not of this Caol Ila, but a general Chieftain's presentation


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Extremely pale

Nose: Smoky embers from a recently extinguished bonfire with background hints of farmyard, sweet manure and a touch of Atlantic.

Palate: Very smooth! Soft peated smoke gently caress the palate whilst reminding me also of a remote Atlantic jetty.

With 3-4 drops of drops of water in 2cl: Both the nose and the palate open a little more to the Atlantic elements.

With three more drops of water: The palate fades a little in flavours but is still very maritime with hints of (wood) smoke and the finish is even longer.

Finish: Long, getting longer with more water.

Overall Impression and comments: A pretty good Caol Ila, but as I often say, this distillery needs to be bottled at higher ABV's so 46% is just a bit too weak for my liking. Get it nearer to 60% and it would be a great! Best after the first addition of water.



Bladnoch Forum, Caol Ila, 29y, distilled 21.5.1980, bottled 18.6.2009, 55.5%

Hogshead No. 4937, bottle No.19 / 374

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale gold

Nose: This takes a few minutes to develop, after which slightly bitter fruit (apple, pear) sit in front of a hint of peat and fresh Atlantic sea-air.

Palate: Lots of fruit dance across the very front of the palate and leave only the faintest hint of smoke.

With 5 drops of drops of water in almost 2cl: Smooth fruit wrapped in smoked ham.

With 5 more drops of water: Atlantic freshness with traces of peaty smoke.

With another 5 drops of water: A little more smoke, but still very fresh and fruity

Finish: Very long but always on the front of the palate.

Overall Impression and comments: A very fresh and fruity Caol Ila which offers slight peat and smoke and is thoroughly enjoyable.



Bladnoch Forum, Caol Ila, 29y, distilled 21.5.1980, bottled 4.6.2009, 55.3%

Hogshead No. 4940, bottle No.39 / 235

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: 18 carat gold

Nose: Immediately richer than the above bottling (cask 4937), Still fruity, but including slightly darker berries and a hint of oak.

Palate: Smooth with a burst of coconut, more sweet than bitter with hints of wood and very slight liquorice.

With 5 drops of drops of water in almost 2cl: Hints of peat stranded on an Atlantic beach in a leaky old (oak) rowing boat.

With 5 more drops of water: Atlantic sea-air blowing onto that beach, where a rubber buoy also just washed up.

With another 5 drops of water: Delightfully fruity alongside all those Atlantic elements.

Finish: Very long and on the front to middle of the palate.

Overall Impression and comments: This has much more depth and richness than the cask No. 4937, as if this is first fill and the last one second or third. An extremely good dram!



AD Rattray, Caol Ila, 13y, 60.5%

Individual Cask Bottling

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow, very light gold

Nose: Peat, (wood) smoke, Atlantic sea air and a punnet of raspberries

Palate: Massive peat and smokle, but too much alcohol, it needs water.

With 5 drops of drops of water in almost 2cl: A palate of peat with hints of liquorice.

With 5 more drops of water: Fresher nose whilst the palate is opening and smoothing out nicely with a little more liquorice.

5 More drops of water: A very light nose. The palate has turned lighter, sweeter and fruitier, but still with overtones of peat.

Finish: Medium to long

Overall Impression: A very A-Typical Caol Ila which is very typical of AD Rattray. It's at 60.5% and really needs water, almost to a point of half water, half whisky in order to fully open and be savoured in all its glory. Very different to CS OBs, but well worth trying.



The Whisky Exchange "CI1", 62.9% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: This is pure Caol Ila at its very best. Once again I'm back in my beloved Yorkshire Dales on a hike towards Ingleborough when I come across a traditional row of terraced cottages with smoking chimneys on a cold winter's day. This is peat, smoke and a touch of Black Forest ham.

Palate: Intense smoke and peat, but water is needed as with all good high abv Caol Ilas.

With 4 drops of water: Peat. Massive intense peat on nose and palate.

With 4 more drops: Softer and smoother but full power peat.

A further 4 drops: Some fruit develops on the nose alongside the peat. The palate is just perfectly smoked peat.

Then 4 more drops of water: It just gets better!

Finally 5 more drops of water: Pears and peat on the nose followed by what can only be described as smooth, sophisticated peat on the palate.

Finish: Very long, lots of peat then some development of fruit when water is added.

Overall Impression: More, I want more! Just buy it, or there again don't as there'll be more left for me! Marvellous.



Murray McDavid, Caol Ila Zinfandel finish, 2000, 8y, 46% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Dram-atics Advent-urous live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: This already hints at the wine as it's very rich, dark oak but with a distinct coppery red hue.

Nose: Initially rubbery and smoky in a sweet kind of way alongside notes of wood. I have sat pondering this one for quite some time as there's also something else evident on the nose which I really can't place, other than to say it's quite red. Yes, really!

Palate: Very smooth and really quite smoky in a typical Caaol Ila kind of way, but it also has a sweet fruity tang, in a rather untypical Caol Ila way.

Finish: Very long, too long.

Overall Impression: Oh dear, I was really looking forward to trying this one as I do tend to like Caol Ila offerings, but this is one clear-cut case where the wine finishing just doesn't work. Who would believe that a wine finish could totally overpower a whisky like Caol Ila? Sorry chaps, I usually don't mind a well executed wine finish, but sadly not this one.



SMoS, Caol Ila 18y, 11.1.1991 - 20.4.2009, 56.1% ABV

Hogshead 194/200, 620 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale straw

Nose: Instantly bursting forth with very smoky cheese and a hint of farmyard with a coastal saltiness. After some minutes this develops a suggestion of warming and fruity bread dough.

Palate: A wonderful mixture of both wood and peat smoke with lots of fruit in the background.

With 4 drops of water: This is now slightly drier and less salty on the nose, whilst the palate is is much more gentle with more wood-smoke, followed by the peat and then a little more fruit (pear & apricot) towards the finish.

Finish: Very long, in fact extremely long with the 4 drops of water. Also very fruity right at the end.

Overall Impression: A rather sophisticated and fruity Caol Ila which really benefitted from a little water, but not too much. I love that background fruitiness over the peat!



BBR, Caol Ila, Distilled 1983, bottled 2011, 53.9% ABV

Cask No.4800

Typical cost of this bottle; to

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light yellow gold

Nose: Initially a mixture of slightly fishy peat and Atlantic fishing harbour. In fcat it's almost smoked kippers (herring), but not quite. Then come hints of wood and plums followed further by a very light rubberiness.

Palate: That smoked kipper from the nose actually expands on the palate and is joined by nectarine and papaya before the underlying peaty smoke gradually takes over.

Finish: Very long fruity peat

Overall Impression: An absolute gem, if not quite a 'great'.



Duncan Taylor, "Octave", Caol Ila, 28y, 1983-2011, 51.7% ABV

Sherry Octave No.400926

Typical cost of this bottle; to

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Initially a ligthly toasted sensation, possibly even coconut macaroons? Then comes some light fruit with mainly apple and pear. Finally, a great surprise appears with German Christmas speculatius biscuits which have some light cinnamon. All this is overlaid with a distinct but gentle smokiness.

Palate: A cream-mouth-feel explodes with a mixture of light peat and peach. The peat remains and is always foremost, but that gentle fruitiness also stays around.

Finish: Long, lightly peaty and fruity.

Overall Impression: Delightful, a very good whisky.



The Whisky Agency, Caol Ila, 30y, 1981-2011, 52.9% abv

"Liquid Sun" series, ex-bourbon wood, one of 191 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Munich whisky fair own glass

Colour: Light yellow gold

Nose: There's an initial hint of lightly toasted cherries, but this quickly fades to be replaced by oaky wood and a faint mustiness. In fact upon reflection this is more a mistiness which reminds me of an early foggy morning on an Atlantic coast.

Palate: All at once this is oily, creamy and lightly smoked with a background suggestion of a vague fruitiness. It also suggests a mild saltiness to take me back to that Atlantic coast.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: To me this is a quite a-typical Caol Ila although I know many of the older expressions do differ greatly from the more peaty and (wood) smoky younger ones. Well, it may be a-typical but it's a very good whisky indeed.



James McA. "Old Masters", Caol Ila, 14y, 1995-2010, 58.4% ABV

Sherry wood, cask No.10042

Typical cost of this bottle; (only just at 79)

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow (21ct) gold

Nose: This initially offers a dry leafy smokiness, but at the same time it's creamy and slightly toasted. I'm now sensing smoky kiwi and passion fruit then after some minutes a suggestion of smoked herring appears. This is now very reminiscent of an Atlantic fishing harbour.

Palate: The nose translates nicely onto the palate with creamy smoked herring and lots of fruitiness with red berries, peach and apricot. Did I say creamy? Very!

Finish: Very long with rich and fruity peat.

Overall Impression: Excellent, I love that mixture of peat, fruit and Atlantic fishing harbour.




D. Taylor "Rare Auld", Caol Ila, 26y, 1982-2008, 55.4% ABV

Cask No.2736

Typical cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale gold

Nose: Fading bonfire embers developing to include a light rubberiness after some minutes. Very typical Islay.

Palate: Lots of fruit on the palate as I detect cherry and damson amongst what could be a suggestion of apple, pear and a light saltiness.

With 4 drops of water: Lots of wood on the nose whilst the fruitiness of the palate has intensified even further alongside a hint of smokiness.

Finish: Long, slightly drier with the water.

Overall Impression: A very nice fruity Caol Ila.




SMWS, Caol Ila,  distilled Aug.1995 - 16y, 56.6% ABV

Cask No.53.164

Typical cost of this bottle; Unknown, but I suspect to

Dram-atics live review at SMWS Vaults


Glass: SMWS

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: Initially slightly rubbery and for a split second, but no longer, I get the faintest suggestion of baby vomit, but as I said this almost immediately disappears again to leave a quite fruity (raspberry) peatiness.

Palate: Fresh Atlantic saltiness with a delightful peatiness. That rubberiness is suggested in the background along with the raspberries.

Finish: Long

Overall Impression: Fruity peat, earthy and a slight rubberiness? This is actually a delightful combination, I love it.




Maltbarn, Caol Ila,  30y, 1980-2011, 56.3% ABV

Ex Sherry Butt, Maltbarn Ed.1, one of 66 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden dark amber

Nose: Oooh, coffee beans and dark chocolate alongside something intensely light and fresh. Nordic pine chips in a sauna? Then the fruitiness of summer berries.

Palate: That coffee, chocolate and slightly scorched Nordic pine just exploded onto the palate.

Finish: Extremely long with chili chocolate and summer berries.

Overall Impression: A totally amazing combination of goodies which wouldn't usually be associated together, but they work extremely well here. Great? maybe, not quite, but extremely close. I love it.




TWE, Caol Ila,  19y, 55.9% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Shiny yellow gold

Nose: Maritime peaty fruitiness which slowly develops an accompanying light rubberiness over some minutes in the glass. It's all quite faint, gentle & subdued.

Palate: There's a very nice initial punch of peaty fruitiness as the palate is definitely bigger than the subdued nose. That fruitiness now seems to be akin to apricot, peach or even banana.

With 4 drops of water: Potato alongside the fruitiness on the nose? Maybe. The palate is now just oozing with smooth and gentle peatiness.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: Very nice indeed, even if gentle.



G&M for LMDW, Caol Ila,  34y, 59% ABV

Cask No.5316 (Refill US Hogshead) distilled 28.10.1981, bottled 12.7.2016

Original cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Butterscotch

Nose: A meaty peatiness offering great depth of smokiness, earthiness and of course peatiness. After some minutes in the glass come hints of dry fruitiness (green apple or star fruit) and is that a faint hint of white chocolate in the background?

Palate: This has a great presence as it expands across the palate with a warming peatiness and an almost buttery nuttiness.

Finish: Long, very long.

Overall Impression: Earthy peat, smoke, dry fruits and a buttery nuttiness? Delightful. It's a "Great".



G&M for Taiwan, Caol Ila,  58.2% ABV

Exclusive series, bottled for GI Jane House

Cask No.305346 distilled 1999, bottled 2016

Original cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Shiny (polished) Teak

Nose: Mild suggestions of smokiness and fishiness alongside a rich fruitiness and hints of red wine, something rich like a Burgundy.

Palate: The nose translates directly onto the palate with a smoky fishiness and a rich fruitiness comparable to red wine.

Finish: Very long.

Overall Impression: A little hard to describe other than the smoky fishiness and fruitiness but delicious even so.



Cadenhead's, Caol Ila, 36y,  52.3% ABV

Distilled 1980, bottled July 2016

Bourbon Hogshead, one of 210 bottles

Original cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Shiny yellow gold

Nose: There's an initial fruity light smokiness where the fruitiness is akin to summer berries (red ones). The nose gradually turns slightly musty and develops hints of custard or perhaps creme brulee.

Palate: Initially tingly creaminess, vanilla, almost apple crumble (with custard) and a mild woodiness. I feel this could benefit from water.

4-5 Drops: The nose is now gentler, creamier but without the original smokiness. The palate is also gentler as there'S no 'tingle' but it's still fruity and creamy.

Finish: Long without but short with water.

Overall Impression: As it happens I think this was better without the water but it's still a very nice dram.






Some great views from and around Caol Ila distillery (Whisky Emporium photography 2013)







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