Caol Ila Distillery Exclusive Bottling

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Natural Cask Strength
Number of bottles
58.8 % Vol.
700 ml
Added on
12 Aug 2017 10:14 am by Kilt73
UncoloredNon-chillfilteredCask StrengthSingle Cask Whisky

Average value

€ 194.45

15 × in wishlist

126 × member ratings

278 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Caol Ila Distillery Exclusive Bottling

13 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 87.08 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    [October, 2018] Of all Scottish distilleries Caol Ila probably delivers the most consistent high quality - it is very hard to find a flawed or bad Caol Ila release even among the IB ones (I found just one so far: WB id 10528). So I look forward to this new Distillery Exclusive bottling with high expectations…

    ...and expectations met! This is a straight-forward peaty /sweet combo that is simple but delicious. No unnecessary build-in effects or cheap thrills confuse my taste buds - maybe you know the old saying: Perfection is when there is nothing left that could be dropped without compromising the quality! In that sense this dram is close to perfection, I like it!

    [December, 2019] I had this dram during a private vertical Caol Ila tasting session and fully confirm my old review and solid 88 points score.
    • Nose
      88 88
      The colour is old gold and the nose offers a very peaty profile for a Caol Ila that is fresh and with beautiful maritime and medicinal notes included. The usual Caol Ila sweetness is somewhat buried under these heavy aromas but if it breathes for some minutes the honeys, sugars and some shy fruits dare to enter the spotlight together with fine spices, liquorice and tobacco leaves. Now it gets more balanced and rounder what I like better than the first "peaty punch". A fair share of water speeds up this process (if you are in a hurry)...
    • Taste
      88 88
      The taste delivers the sweetness that Caol Ila is famous for and that perfectly counters the maritime-peaty attack. Wow, this is a close-to-perfection mix of these flavours - equally balanced they still let space for others to join in like spices, liquorice or ashy notes. It is not truly layered but who needs different layers if the flavours fit that nice altogether in just one...
    • Finish
      89 89
      The initial mouthfeel is warming and instantly coating (what is a good indicator for a high quality spirit). There are no distracting bitter or astringent moments (obviously no aggressive virgin oak casks in this batch, hooray!). The finish is very long (another indicator of high class spirits) and adds more bitter-herbal wooden notes that are a nice contrast to the rather sweet taste. There is a minor drying finale (cold ashes) but this is absolutely okay. Some water does not change a lot but a fair share releases more aromas and flavours and turns the dram smoother (more quaffable). I like to explore it neat and to drink it reduced to about 46% abv.

  2. Whisky Hamster scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    Somehow they managed to just bottle a Caol Ila at cask strength, presumably medium old. No distinguishing feature or expressive cask influence. Pretty decent, but stuff you've been finding from independent bottlers, e.g. Gordon & MacPhail for years, sometimes even in superior quality. Hmm.... and this only to have a special bottling for sale on site for visitors? Hopefully there are no connaisseurs coming... ;-)

  3. smoked_herring scored this whisky 85 points Member Senior

    Tried this one from a bottle that my friend brought back from his trip to Islay back in 2018 so a big thanks to him for letting me try this one as I sadly opted for a dram of the Lagavulin Feis Ile 2019 when I was at Lagavulin in October (as Caol Ila was closed due to construction work so all bottle purchases were moved to Lagavulin until work was completed.)

    Color: Straw Gold

    Nose: Very pleasant floral smoke mixed with sweet barley sugars, honeydew, green apple, cherry peel, plum, juicy lemon, papaya, baked bread and cinnamon

    Taste: Smoked apple jelly, cayenne, brown sugar, salt and pepper dominate along with soft oak tannins, licorice, jammy plums, brine, black tea and raisins

    Finish: Medium with salty briney raisins, burnt brown sugars and roasted treenuts

    Overall a pretty solid and very sessionable style of Caol Ila. The wine cask usage never dominates the core profile and instead adds some subtle but balanced red fruits and nuttiness to the usual goodness of a good bourbon cask Caol Ila. Very good stuff, maybe not 100 quid good but still very good!

  4. erikz scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    This one really fits well in the Distillery Exclusive and Natural Cask Strength bottlings by Caol Ila. Delivers, huge smoky/peat bomb that hits like a freight train.

    So much to experience in this one. Sticks to the glass, is fatty with short legs and a lovely golden yellow. The nose is full of phenolic, peaty, smoky, citrus and chocolate notes. On the palate this is a classic and strong Caol Ila: lemon, bbq smoke, brine, medicinal notes, tobacco, minerals, cane sugar, and a big whiff of peat. The finish is long, peppery, warm, salty, chalky, has a bit of citrus as well and finishes dry and leaves sea salt lingering in my mouth.
    A few drops of water softens is a little, but almost doesn't make a difference.

  5. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur


    I'm not sure what happened to the proposed 30yo or whether I missed it due to my lateness. Its absence from the lineup made the 22yo the oldest in the flight and was kept till last. To compensate, we first had this instead [at least that's how I remember it].

    N: Vanilla-ish, oily & salty-sweet, this is cask led though some consolidation is certainly present.
    T: Arrives fine and soon heads smoke-side. Pretty fair throughout save for another hollow middle. What’s going on there? Add water however, and all is forgiven.
    F: A sweet salty turn. After threatening a dirty finish, it concludes clean.
    C: A very good 10yo, surpassing this year's Feis Ile offering [blog] of the same age.

  6. big_peat scored this whisky 85 points Expert Junior

    Have tried this bottle as an intro to a cask strength tasting spot in the still.
    We were given some background on the barrels selected for this bottling: first fill Kentucky Bourbon, second fill Kentucky Bourbon & California Red Wine Barrels

  7. Arranthony_Moray scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    Beautiful and surprising caol ila expression. Love it ... on of the best Caol Ila's I've ever tasted.
    • Nose
      87 87
      Not your signature Caol Ila, quite a peaty and medicinal nose. A quite maritime character with some fresh citrus notes coming trough. Dark chocolate, red fruits and a slight bitterness as well. A slight hint of marshmellows is a lovely side note
    • Taste
      88 88
      A quite peaty punch that allows some sweeter caol ila notes. Some peaches, honey, tabacco and a bitter herbal touch. A quite creamy mouthfeel. Feels like a marshmellow over a campire with a slight burnt layer. Love it.
    • Finish
      89 89
      A long creamy medicinal and maritime finish with a clear ashy and tobacco aftertaste. A lot of wood appearing on the finish now. Waauw this is fantastic !

  8. Horror_Vacui scored this whisky 89 points Expert Senior

    Without water:
    A pretty alcoholic nose, but has a lot to offer. A full broadside of spray and damp dew. Dark chocolate, currants, a subtle rhubarb note. A touch of bitter herbs and honey.

    In the mouth first ashes without end. But then the alcohol comes biting-spicy.

    With water:
    The nose becomes fruity and sweeter. Cherries, Mon Cherie, crushed blueberries.

    In the mouth:
    A peppery onion, Szechwan pepper. A great combination of ash and berries, with spicy forest honey.

    Finish: Medium to long, sweet with a slightly acidic twist. And again ashes, ashes, ashes. A very slight metallic impact on the back of the tongue.

    Beautiful Caol Ila-atypical notes, which make the malt very interesting. A little more complexity, by a few more years in the barrel and that would easily be a top mark.

  9. Dionysus scored this whisky 89 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      91 91

  10. Dre73 scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      89 89


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