Caol Ila 1996
Distilled at the Caol Ila distillery in 1996, Gordon and MacPhail matured this in their Elgin-based warehouses in refill sherry casks. The result is a rich, coastal dram, with fruity freshness and smoke.
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The nose is quite green and rich with a well-balanced sweetness, counteracted by the elegant Caol-smoke. Notes of dried kelp and tar with a touch of apple peel and underripe fruit. Some notes of barley develop. The palate is rich and quite lively with peppery oak and charred toasted spice. Notes of seaweed and a defined coastal quality with a gentle smoke and chewy, dark peat. The finish is long and smoky with rock salt and tar and cut herbs.
As a fan of the Islay malts and Caol Isla in particular, this one stands tall among its peers. Close your eyes and you are in a crofters cottage with a peaty fire in your nostrils, yet nothing overpowers the delicate balances. Absolute belter.
20th January 2012