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So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Caol Ila 12 yo OB

Caol Ila is a huge distillery, at 6 stills and 3.75 million litres of newmake a year.

Most would know it as the blending beast feeding Diageo’s blends, but did you know the style of Caol Ila used for blending is the unpeated highland style?

The unpeated version has also been bottled officially recently, joining a stable of well regarded OBs. Also available are myriad independent bottlings – everyone seems to have a middle aged Caol Ila <not to mention the whole Port Askaig line, not confirmed but c’mon…>, should be a clue how much whisky this distillery is capable of producing..

Caol Ila

Pier was too short, I couldn’t capture the whole warehouse with my pocket Canon.

IMG_2214

Here’s the blurb:

Out of sight, in a remote cove near Port Askaig lies Caol Ila, hidden gem among Islay’s distilleries since 1846. Not easy to find, Caol Ila’s secret malt is nonetheless highly prized among devotees of the Islay style.

Caol Ila lies close to Loch nam Bam, source of its pure mash water. The sea provides water for cooling and once brought steamers to collect a whisky appreciated for its balanced, fresh style – lighter bodied than many Islay malts, yet with all their typical peatiness.

For more than a hundred and fifty years a distillery has stood here at remote CAOL ILA, home to Islay’s hidden malt. Never widely available and not as pungent as some of its neighbours, Caol Ila combines an unmistakable ISLAY CHARACTER with sublime drinkability.

Nose  Nose: Dry peat smoke, some hot tar. Not a monster of course, nice middle-of-the-road-er path between the twin Bs and the big 3. Peatiness does not overpower its grassy and coastal notes, sea breeze and shellfish. More than a drop of antiseptic. Wholewheat bread?

Taste  Palette: Crumbly peat and dirt, dried leaves, smoked fish, some woodiness, salty, herbal bitters at the end.

Finish  Finish: Medium, astringent with a licorice touch, and finally peatsmoke.

Score45

Very well made whisky, Caol Ila is not often thought of as being as peated as the big 3, but really it’s peating level is 35-40 ppm. Somehow it feels more subdued – a conscious choice of lighter house style by the master blender? Well balanced, well drinkable, well worth it.

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2014 by in Caol Ila and tagged , .
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