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Caol Ila 12 Year Old

horseback riding in the falls

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@jfpilonReview by @jfpilon

14th Jan 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Last night was a Caol Ila night. My girlfriend was at her ballet class, so when the 2 youngest wer in bed, I opened up a bottle of 12YO.

What an amazing nose: the smoke, The smoke! But then, some leather showed up. And orchard flowers. Unbelievably well balanced: the peat and the fleur d'oranger were noth fighting, just sharing the stage.

In my first glass, the flowers disapeared rather quickly, but were replaced by a nice nuttiness. Like recently cracked wallnut, or nutmeg. Lovely.

On the second glass, the orange blossoms stayed put, but a woodiness was added.

Wood, orchard, leather, smoke. Honestly, I can,t shake off the image of a nice fall horseback ride through an apple orchard, with nearby leave piles being burned. Positively charming.

The initial taste is very fresh and floral. But then the smoke appeared, coalescing into what I can only describe as cigar boxy: wood and tobacco leaves. But it's so fresh!

On my 2nd glass (both were about 1oz. so don't give that look), the scotch give me a very fruity undertone. And all neither too sweet nor bitter. Like tangerine supremes, poached in apricot juice and served in a very light lichee syrup.

And the finish : wood, some Jamaican pepper, tobacco leaves and leather. But never harsh.

It's an incredibly smooth Islay. I reaaly loved it.

It was the first time I drank it as a single malt, but I know it's part of the Johnnie Walker black and green, and i'm pretty sure it plays a part in my favorite blend: te bheag.

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jwise commented

I have not yet had the pleasure to taste Caol Ila as a single malt. The closest I have come is my bottle of Johnnie Walker Green (which is very good!) I look forward to trying a bottle. Excellent review. I like how you wrote about your first approach & second approach, as whisky definitely changes with each approach.

9 years ago 0

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