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.
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.
An exciting dram
I would largely agree with MoM's tasting notes above. The nose has a lot of raisin and dried fruit - the influence of sherry cask, no doubt. the palate is rich and velvety, and has a satisfying leathery toffee note which is complemented beautifully by the suppleness of the maritime smoke. This develops into a well sustained finish which, as MoM point out, is reminiscent of mint stalks, parsley and rock salt with the lingering smoke.
This is a really satisfying dram with a robust - almost syrupy - mouthfeel and a flavour which develops in surprising directions.
19th September 2015
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