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Caol Ila 14 YO, Cask # LD 6957

Pick of The Litter

8 1194

@VictorReview by @Victor

20th Aug 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Douglas of Drumlanrig is an independent bottler. I thank @Maddie for samples from the reviewed bottle. The reviewed bottle was distilled in September 1996 and bottled in February 2011. I attended a tasting of mostly Douglas Laing products with @Maddie in, I believe, January of 2013. Of the 8 or 10 malts we tasted that night, several 25 to 35 years of age, this one was my clear favourite. I egged @Maddie on to buy a bottle. The reviewed bottle was opened on May 23, 2018 on the occasion of a visit from two of our Canadian friends, Connosr members @paddockjudge and @Nozinan. The bottle was sampled when first opened, 6 weeks later, and again today, 12 weeks later. The bottle is 80% full. Only 150 bottles were produced

Body: quite oily, in that Caol Ila way

Nose: a strong gorgeous bouquet of high-pitched nicely edged sweet peat and medium smoke immediately seduces the nose. Delicate cereal malt and light brine accompany the peat. This is one of the prettiest peated noses I have encountered. Absolutely beautiful. Water added: SRB = even further increases the sweetness, even further raises the pitch, and bundles the flavours. Score: 23/25 points, with and without water added

Taste: this is fabulously peaty with a wonderful sweet balance. The barley is lovely. The brine is delicious. This is near perfection. Water added lowers the pitch and reduces complexity. Score: 24/25 neat; 22/25 with water added

Finish: pleasantly tangy, prickly, and continuously very tongue-tingling for a very long finish, which dies on a warm peaty glow. Water added bundles the flavours into the finish and slightly reduces the tongue-tingling phenomenon. Score: 23.5/25 neat; 22.5/25 with water added

Balance: excellent balance in all phases neat; bundled flavours with lowered complexity with water added. Score: 24/25 neat; 22.5/25 with water added

Total Sequential Score: 94.5 points neat; 90 points with water added


Strength: very potent, especially in the mouth. Score: 23.5/25 neat; 22.5/25 with water added

Quality: top-top-top....NOTCH, all elements of it. This is very bright and very "zippy". This is a rare height of quality found in this single cask. Score: 24/25 neat and with water added

Variety: when consumed neat there is plenty of variety to taste; water obscures the complexity. Score: 23/25 neat; 21.5/25 with water added

Harmony: it all works. The nose is very good; the palate is sensational. I prefer this whisky neat. Score: 23.5/25 neat; 22.5/25 with water added

Total Non-Sequential Score: 94 points neat; 90.5 points with water added


Comment: when we opened this bottle in May 2018 I was eagerly hoping that it would please me and the others gathered as much as it had pleased me when I had first tasted it 5 1/2 years previously. It did. The fact that this cask produced only 150 bottles means that neither I nor nearly all of those reading this review will get to purchase a bottle from this particular release. The principal value of a review of a probably unavailable whisky is to remind the reader that there is a great huge world of whiskies available from independent bottlers, some of them undiscovered gems, available for you to try out for yourself!

Related Caol Ila reviews


Nozinan commented

Great review. I was very fortunate to try this and the company was great!

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

Caol Ila should be the poster child for the entire world of IBs.

4 years ago 3Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@Victor, Not a bad little whisky. lol This one left an impression on me and so I took a pic. To put into perspective the brilliance of this bottling, here is a list of some of the whisky we tasted that very night, before, after, and some of us during the 1996 Caol Ila 14 YO.

Black Bull 40 YO

Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 YO

Parker's Heritage Collection 8th Release

Jefferson's Presidential Select 18 YO 2009 Release

Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 23 YO

Vintage Bourbon 17 YO

Abraham Bowman 12 YO Port Finished ...the $9,800 disappearing bottle (it's in the safe wink )

Abraham Bowman 18 YO Barrel Proof

Eagle Rare 17 YO 2011 Fall Release

Sazerac 18 YO 2011 Fall Release

1980's JW Black 12 YO

Springbank 12 YO Cask Strength

4 years ago 3Who liked this?

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Victor commented

@paddockjudge, thank you very much for the photo and the list. It was wonderful to see you guys!

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

Great label on that bottle and, it seems, great contents. I'm more than a little envious of you boys.

4 years ago 0

OdysseusUnbound commented

Caol Ila makes such wonderful whisky; it’s such a shame that Diageo doesn’t do more interesting things with it. The 17 Year Old Unpeated Cask Strength was incredible. This one sounds amazing. Thanks for the review.

4 years ago 4Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

@OdysseusUnbound Looks like the 15 YO CS unpeated is available in in NB for $135 and the 18 YO CS (also unpeated) is available for $180.

I will pass because it's a 2 day drive and I have one of each (and I paid less than that), but if they are as good as I think they would be worth it.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

cricklewood commented

@OdysseusUnbound I would second that motion but I don't trust Diageo in the handling of their best assets. The upside is it means there are so many good IB versions out there. It's just that sadly we don't get much in our respective liquor monopoly stores.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

cricklewood commented

@Victor, a great review. Your enthusiasm for this bottle allows us to taste it vicariously.

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

Pierre_W commented

What a lovely review, @Victor. I felt like I could virtually taste this Caol Ila expression. I do not know Douglas of Drumlanrig that well but I tasted a 23-year old Port Ellen of them last year and liked it a lot. My thanks also go out to @paddockjudge for sharing the whiskies/whiskeys that you tasted that evening - Holy Mother of God!! I wish I could have been there!

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

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