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Caol Ila 12 Year Old


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@TheCasksReview by @TheCasks

23rd Apr 2010


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Nose: Peat smoke, but a softer, less insistent peat smoke, less medicinal and strong than Ardbeg or Laphroig. A little wood smoke as well...perhaps a little smoke from burning grass. Orange or even tangerine citrus. Faint floral and vanilla notes as well.

Palate: Begins sweet & rich and has a wonderful oily, coating mouth feel. The peat smoke here is bright and mingles with other smokey flavors like green wood smoke and a little pipe smoke. Holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg even a little clove but with no drying quality. In fact, though it has only faint citrus notes on the palate, it has a very "acidic" quality in that it's mouth-watering and, I'll be honest, extremely hard to stop drinking.

Finish: Long, phenolic and a little peppery, but still with a good roundness. Smooth.

Thoughts: I love this whisky. Wonderfully balanced with all the requisite Islay components, only presented brightly and cleanly, not brooding and heavy. Smokey and rich yet deft & nimble, this is kind of a happy, sunny day Islay.

Related Caol Ila reviews


AboutChoice commented

I have been planning to try Caol Ila. I appreciate the comparisons. Have you compared it to the other peaty Diageo brands: Talisker and Lagavulin ?

13 years ago 0

jdcook commented

It's closer to the Lagavulin than the Talisker. But the peat has a more mossy, vegetative character. The Lagavulin has a lot more salt and iodine. The Caol Ila is very smooth and complex at a young age, and is significantly less intimidating to drink for people still on the learning slopes than the Lagavulin. It's definitely an Islay malt, but it very definitely has it's own distinct style.

I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys peat, and it compares favourably with pretty much any of the base malts from any other Islay distillery (Lagavulin 16, Ardbeg 10, etc).

13 years ago 0

Silas commented

JDCOOK: thanks for the tip! I've tried Talisker and Lagavulin and like both of them. I might even like Talisker better. And, from your suggestion, Caol Ila might be the perfect thing for my "learning slope." Now I've got to find a good price...I don't think I've seen it down in the deep swampland of Louisiana. No one I know has drunk it.

About choice; Which do YOU like better: Talisker or Lagavulin?

13 years ago 0

Katipo commented

I found it closer to the Laphroaig 10yo, but with more of an initial punch. This subsided with subsequent sips. All in all, very enjoyable though.

11 years ago 0

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