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Caol Ila Signatory 1999

Mild-mannered Islay

0 087

@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

17th Jan 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This independent bottling from Signatory should satisfy those who enjoy the coastal flavors of Caol Ila, but there are some slight disappointments herein. For comparison, I tried this whisky just after enjoying a dram of the standard Caol Ila 12 yo and found it to be a tamer version of the basic OB. Although it’s bottled at 46%, compared to the OB’s 43%, it’s definitely easier, smoother, and, somehow, a bit more watery. I’d suggest drinking this one neat, as even a tiny splash of water doesn’t help open anything up, and there’s virtually no burn in the finish. The reviewed bottle is number 308 of 419, cask #3/11087, distilled on November 22, 1999, and bottled on January 17, 2011.

Nose: Compared to the standard 12 yo, the peat has been tamed (and it’s not as if I classify the 12 yo among the major peat monsters). It’s still the dominant element, but it’s lost much of its zing. On the plus side, it’s reasonably complex, with some creamy custard, malt, smoke, and some peppery spice. A bit underwhelming, but nice nonetheless.

Palate: The arrival is perhaps the one element that’s slightly superior to the OB. A very nice balance of smoky and sweet, with toasted oak and malty caramel fighting for space. It develops with some honey, sweet cream, malt, plus a touch of salt and some earthy tones. The finish is slightly above average in length, with plenty of caramel and a brief peat encore.

It’s certainly a fine dram without the slightest trace of bitterness or off tones. But, overall, it’s little more than Caol Ila Lite. Buy the standard 12 yo (which I score at 90), add a little splash of water, and you’ll get the idea as to what this is all about.

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