Color etc. are obsolete - we are at the Diageo core range. After all, it is whisky that can shine with many independent bottlers. Will the standard bottling from the core range also succeed - contrary to expectations?
The typical ashy smoke of Caol Ila is present in the aroma. A nice smoke, much cleaner than its competitors on the south coast. But why is this beautiful smoke so much warmer and deeper among the independents? In the background there are disturbing notes that are unclean and contain solvents.
In the taste, the typical citrus notes of Caol Ila and the ashiness of the smoke come. But there is also a rotting, messy, lazy component. This is much less pronounced in many independent bottlings that clearly come from the same distillery. This bottling has a distinctive note of colored sludge that is present in both the aroma and the taste. This significantly reduces the rating.
The color sludge becomes a little milder when the bottle is open longer, but still remains present. the entire aroma suffers from the bottling strength of 43% vol., a little more alcohol could bring stronger notes, which determine the characteristics of martitim-smoky whiskys.
In the aftermath, there are rather worn wood notes. Here too, many independents are ahead. Diageo is massively careless in branding, it seems that the better kegs are being sold and inferior kegs are being filled into the standard range.
The whisky is smoky and straight - but it has notes that are not primarily dirty and Islay style, but rather tend towards the wrong notes. Associations of colored sludge leave the standard product far behind some independent Caol Ilas. Pity!
Caol Ila is the largest distillery on Islay and the whiskys are now among the celebrated - and therefore massively overpriced - whiskys at some independent bottlers. Then why is the standard product so little?
Due to the smoke, the whisky has aspects that also make it interesting for the more experienced connoisseur. But to be honest, it is mainly useful as a hardener at the end of a set of good whiskys. And that is pathetic, because the distillery can clearly do more! Shame on you, Diageo!