Monday, January 17, 2011

Caol Ila 12yo 43%

I have always been a huge fan of Caol Ila - if I am honest it is probably my favourite Islay malt - although I can see in a few years time Kilchoman may be pushing it close as they have had some brilliant releases so far.

The 12yo distillery bottling has been on the go now for a number of years now since the legendary 15yo flora and fauna bottling was taken off the market. I was actually supposed to be on Islay at Caol Ila for the launch of the new Caol Ila bottlings but unfortunately my sister went and got married and I had to miss it (Not unfortunate that my sister got married - she is still happily married!).

Anyway the 12yo distillery bottling was not my favourite when it first came out and generally speaking I have always preferred independent bottlings of Caol Ila to the distillery bottling. That said I tried this again at Hogmany and was very impressed with it - in fairness it was at 5am on the 1st of January so not the best time to do tasting notes! So lets give it a try again:

Nose: Sweet, creamy, dry ash, lemon, olive oil, wet grass, white chocolate. With time becomes like rain on cement on a hot day (god when did I start writing such rubbish!)

Taste: Reasonable initial hit of peat, black pepper, lime, more olive oil and a touch chalky. Tastes a little bit like paracetamols! Some creaminess does emerge and then there is the (for me) typical lawnmower flavour of Caol Ila. More ashiness also develops.

Finish: A little clingy, quite chewy and oily but a slight sour note is a little unpleasant. More ash and also a touch of salt.

Comment: A decent dram from a very consistently good distillery - this whisky is good although not as good as I remembered it being on the 1st of January. If it wasn't for the slight chalkiness and the sour note this would be a cracker. Maybe if it was at 46% and not chillfiltered true Caol Ila would be allowed to shine through. Not bad but not a cracker.

Score: 83/100

On a side note - I actually got this bottle from my neighbour who had actually asked me to try the whisky as he thought it was off! He couldnt belive when I told him it was actually supposed to taste like that! He is very much a Speyside man! Was all good for me as I scored a bottle of whisky - well what was left at the end of the night!

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