1 of 274 bottles from cask no. 13142
Caol Ila is firmly in the classic Islay camp – big and pungent – until recently it was something of a secret malt, but now it is being bottled at various ages and promoted by its owners, Diageo, as it deserves to be. This example has come from a refill American oak hogshead and is the colour of topaz. The first nose immediately identifies it as an Islay – bags of medicine and smoke – but if you explore behind the surface you can identify sheep dip and smoked sausages. Clean as an operating theatre. At full strength the flavour is very sweet, with a blast of smoke in the finish. Water reminds us that the distillery is only yards from the sea – the Sound of Islay, from which it takes its name: seaweed, brine and plastic detritus. Mouthfilling in texture, sweet, then both acidic and salty before the long smoky finish. A surprising perfumed flavour towards the end. A beautifully structured, elegant example of this distillery's make.