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Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2003

Disappointing CI

1 477

@talexanderReview by @talexander

16th Apr 2016


Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2003
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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I've generally liked Caol Ila and found this bottle at the LCBO (Caol Ila doesn't get here very often). As I have an older 1997 DE, thought we could do a little compare and contrast. These releases are finished in Moscatel wine casks. My bottle has been open for a couple of months.

The colour is a medium-light gold. On the nose we have smoked mackerel, coastal sea spray, light peat, pencil shavings, sweet malt and Fisherman's Friend. Maltier with water. Not overly complex, but what you might expect from this distillery.

The palate, unfortunately, is a mishmash of peat, black pepper and Hall's throat lozenges. The silky mouthfeel is the only indication that a wine cask is involved here. Very little oak here, despite being about 12 years old. Not much complexity nor balance here, though water helps smooth things out.

The finish is long and a little rough, with cough syrup, brine and indeterminate spice. This is very different from the 1997 DE, which is much more balanced and subtle (note that this bottle has been open for many years; I reviewed it last October). The 2003 just hits you with flavours all set to the same high-pitched volume, whereas the 1997, though not completely successful, layers the notes fairly well. Disappointing.

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BlueNote commented

@talexander. There is about a $50 difference between the standard 12 yr.old and the DE in BC. I had the DE about five years ago and have stuck to the much better standard 12 ever since. Good to know it has not improved over the years.

8 years ago 0

talexander commented

@BlueNote, glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels that way. It seems like all of Diageo's DE editions of their Malts are never as good as their much less expensive standard bottlings.

8 years ago 0

RikS commented

I'm currently sipping on a 2004 Caol Ila and I must say I find it excellent. Nothing stands out very much, but it's very well balanced and all the elements are coming together fine. The peat, the slight iodine, the a wee bit of salt, wrapped in a little sweetness, I really enjoy it actually. With the risk of provoking some violent reactions for blasphemy, I'd say it makes me think of Uideadail's third or forth younger brother - discernible similarities in the DNA, but not all siblings can be successful geniuses... But sure, the fact that it's quite a bit more expensive than the Oogie, no... I cannot come up with a reasonable motivation for that.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

talexander commented

@RikS Glad you enjoy it - of course, these things are entirely subjective...I wonder what a side-by-side of the 2003 and 2004 would be like.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?