1 of only 317 bottles from cask no 13374
Not as widely promoted as other Islay distilleries (because it is in big demand by the Johnnie Walker blends) Caol Ila is nevertheless a classic ‘big’ Islay malt. This is a ‘beginners’ example of the make. The bottling is from a re-fill American oak hogshead, which has coloured the whisky pale gold. The first nose is more Speyside than Islay – acid drops, pear drops, soor ploom sweeties, with only a trace of smoke-and-carbolic in the background. Water raises this, however, but in a clean, fresh way – dentists’ mouthwash and Andrew’s Liver salts come first, before the familiar Wright’s Coal Tar soap – and there is even a good sprinkling of fresh basil leaves. The mouthfeel is pleasantly full-bodied and the primary taste sweeter and fruitier than usual, although backed by masses of smoke. We were reminded of fruity barbeque sauce, and would recommend it to accompany such al fresco entertainment.