Caol Ila has always been one of my favorite distilleries. It has the peat and smoke that you associate with an Islay malt but there is more to the whisky than that. I usually associate a buttery flavor to Caol Ila. It also tends to be clean and refined not “too out there” in the flavor profile.
So I was in the Caol Ila mood today. This might have to do with the young 8 year old Caol Ila that I just got from Japan thatwas bottled exclusively for a department store there. See my earlier post for the unique bottle. Additionally I just received a sample of Scott’s Selection 1984 Caol Ila from my good friend Dara. Untasted Caol Ila’s and Friday…no better time to drink!
I was joined by fellow whiskwall contributor Nate for the festivities. Nate should be posting his notes shortly as well. We decided to start with the Scott’s Selection due to it’s age – more flavors to pick up versus the young 8 y/o.
Scott’s Selection Caol Ila Distilled in 1984 bottled at 53%
Color – Light yellow
Nose – Big wafts of sweet peat, a little smoke, burnt embers, ashy, an organic sweetness – honey and butter scotch, oranges are in there too.
Palate – Surprising amounts of smoke and embers (more than the nose would reveal), wet rocks, the distinct Caol Ila flavor that I identify as butter or butter scotch, oak, tree bark, slightly bitter.
Finish – long and peaty, the embers slowly eventually fade.
Great powerful Caol Ila – a big hitter and I love it at cask strength!
Moving on to the 8 y/o. I do tend to like younger malts so I was really looking forward to this.
2000 Caol Ila bottled exclusively for Tokyu Department Store
Distilled in 2000 and bottled in 2008 at 59%
Color – Dull yellow
Nose – Shy and coy, you can make out the peat but its hidden, honey, a touch of mint, malt, very clean.
Palate – Soft at the initial point of attach then explodes with peat, malt, oak, again that tell tale buttery flavor, slightly creamy, cardboard, can tell that it is still very young, not all that complex.
Finish – fairly short, fades fast on peat.
I enjoyed both, but it was a pretty unfair fight I think. The 8 year old was simply over matched. The Scott’s Selection had more complexity and punch to it. It might be one of my favorite Caol Ila’s I have tried. It didn’t surpass the Whisky Shop’s 24 year old private bottling though. For notes/reviews on some of Caol Ila’s standard OB releases check out Whisky Israel.