Another very fine release of my adored 25-years Caol Ila still with an unbeatable price these days. Finally I like the 2017 edition best but this 2018 is not far away from that - it offers more fruity-sweet and a little less herbal flavours (so it all depends on your personal preference). But all these drams are excellent and (given you like this profile) probably the best bang for your bucks...
[December, 2019] I had this dram during a private vertical Caol Ila tasting session and fully confirm my old review and solid 90+points score.
The colour is almost the same at old gold but it is adjusted using caramel (as usual with Diageo's standard releases). The texture shows slow legs and late fat tears, basically the same as the other two releases. The nose offers this typical complex profile of old Caol Ila: fruits, peat, barley sugars, herbs and spicy wooden aromas in a fine balance. This 2018 is more fruitier than the previous two releases what I like. The 2017 offers significant more herbal aromas as does the 2016 edition but the ripe fruits of the 2018 are great, too. Still I like the 2017 best closely followed by the 2018 and with some distance the 2016.
The taste is nicely layered mainly on sweet and peaty flavours with lesser herbal impressions than the previous releases but some fine spices and honeys that pop up after a while. The 2017 owns more herbal notes as does the 2016 that is a little bit more peaty than the other two. Again I like the 2017 best closely followed by the new 2018 and 2016 that are different in their taste but on par point-wise.
The 2018 arrives warming and coating in the mouth with no distracting moments at all. The mouthfeel of the 2017 is basically the same whereas the 2016 is a little bit weaker (one point). The finish of the 2018 is of medium length and adds more herbal aromas to the party. No distracting moments again (like bitter or astringent notes). The 2016 has a finish of comparable length while the 2017's finish is longer and somewhat more impressive than the other two (still they are great, no doubt!). Water is not needed, this dram is perfect when neat (of course as Diageo diluted the batch to 43% abv already).