Archive for the ‘Caol Ila’ Category

Wemyss Vintage Malts, ‘Smoke on the Water’ 1982 (31 year old) 46%

Coal Ila. Dist: 1982 Btl: 2013

Tasted: Apr 2015

Nose: Quite fresh and briny but beneath oily apricot, orange and barley notes can be discerned. Gentle, phenolic peat smoke and hints of parma violets appear and with time a touch of tar. However the citric, briny freshness balances and enhances the freshness of the aromas.

Palate: Oilier and a little denser than the nose with more toffee’d oak and barley, which impedes the fresher citric elements somewhat. Hints of coffee appears and some briny notes eventually muscle their way through.

Finish: Very long and very briny with a touch of ‘back of the throat’ spices! Lingering violet tinged peat smoke. Superb finish.

Conclusion: I love that Bowmore-esque parma violet character and I really love that finish. If only there was a little less oak on the palate then this would be in the running for whisky of the month!

Wemyss Vintage Malts Single Cask Release ‘The Admirals Beacon’ 1980 (35 year old) 46%

Dist: 1980 Btl: 2015

Tasted: June 2016

Nose: Dusty and venerable with perfumed parma violets, sooty, sweet peat and fragrant Islay fruit. Seriously weighty with a subtle coastal note adding a freshening element. With time hints of orange rind, liquorice and very subtle but creamy oak.

Palate: Beautifully mature and tropical with hints of sweet orange, melon, barley, brine and a distant echo of wonderfully sweet peat. Majestic and elegant with a lightly salted middle.

Finish: Long and salty with lingering parma violets, barley and coastal saturated dusty fruit.

Conclusion: This is testament to how well Islay malts can age. Absolutely gorgeous and probably quite expensive!

Malts of Scotland Caol Ila 2000 (15 year old) 54.8%

Exclusively Bottled for Bartles Whisky

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: 2000 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Nov 2015

Fresh and crisp nose with subtle iodine, menthol, medicinal peat, vanilla and a touch of burnt wood. With time a light barley sweetness appears along with hints of apricot and pineapple.

The palate is equally as fresh and opens with some subtly sweet barley and milky oak. Lightly salted with very subtle medicinal peat. The herbal, menthol and medicinal notes build on the middle along with a touch of iodine and balancing white fruits. Long with a light tar, creosote and bittering oak finish. It starts quite subtly but the intensity builds really well.

Highland Laird Caol Ila 2007 (8 year old) 53.2%

Bourbon/ Dist: 2007 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Aug 2015

Pungent, youthful, crisp and fresh aromas. Lightly medicinal with bog myrtle, salt, earth and loam. Beneath lies some lovely sweet barley and vanilla. Hints of coffee and creosote appear with time.

The palate is quite sweet and barley’d to begin with. Lightly peated with hints of earth, bog myrtle and iodine. The oak is quite creamy and milky and a short, sharp burst of alcohol releases the medicinal peat, tar and creosote. Lovely tingly, salty finish with the coffee’d malt lingering.

Highland Laird Caol Ila 2007 (8 year old) 53.2%

Bourbon

Dist: 2007 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Aug 2015

Pungent, youthful, crisp and fresh aromas. Lightly medicinal with bog myrtle, salt, earth and loam. Beneath lies some lovely sweet barley and vanilla. Hints of coffee and creosote appear with time.

The palate is quite sweet and barley’d to begin with. Lightly peated with hints of earth, bog myrtle and iodine. The oak is quite creamy and milky and a short, sharp burst of alcohol releases the medicinal peat, tar and creosote. Lovely tingly, salty finish with the coffee’d malt lingering.

 

Carn Mor Strictly Limited Caol Ila 2006 (8 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 2006 Btl: May 2015/ Tasted: May 2015

Now that’s an estery nose! I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a fruity Caol Ila. Apricot and pineapple notes mingle with lightly medicinal and smoky peat. Very full with a noticeable oak input and some beautiful sugary notes. Not overly coastal but a wonderfully complex nose.

Like the nose it is soft and full of estery pineapple, apricot, lychee and pear. Softly honeyed with subtle medicinal peat and iodine. Gently smoked and oily with a gorgeous mouth-filling quality. Long, lightly salted and meaty finish with a touch of bbq and peat smoke. Superb!

Carn Mor Strictly Limited Caol Ila 2008 (8 year old) 46%

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: 2008 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: July 2016

A very sweet, almost perfumed fruit nose with brine and oak. Lightly oiled with hints of medicinal herbs, fish and granulated sugar. The peat is quite subtle and earthy. An all round well balanced nose.

The palate is full, barley’d and fruity with oak and sooty peat. A light menthol note comes through on the middle along with a touch of salt and granulated sugar. Long, barley’d finish with lingering peat and salt


Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Caol Ila 1988 (27 year old) 52.4%

Bourbon Hogshead 4213/Dist: Dec 1988 Btl: Aug 2015/Tasted: Aug 2015

Woody and dense aromas but still full of honey, barley, soft smoke and parma violets. Wonderfully deep and mature, showing all those classic old Caol Ila characteristics! Even at this age it still retains some briny sea air notes along with subtle, oily marzipan and Colombian coffee.

The palate opens with the delightfully sweet barley along with hints of honey, parma violets and subtle, earthy, gritty smoke. Gently oiled and fishy on the middle with a touch of citrus. A gorgeously mouth-watering finish imbued with subtle coastal nose and an intense but controlled alcohol piquancy. Beautiful fade of dark chocolate and gritty coffee. Stunning stuff!

Scotch Malt Whisky Society 53.176 Pain is so close to pleasure (Caol Ila) 56.6%

Tasted Oct 2013

Nose: A full on fishy and oily-peat nose with plenty of astringent coastal notes along with hints of bog myrtle, and violet. With time a thin thread of smoke appears as it becomes rather pleasantly stinky. It is definitely not one-dimensional as there is a core of lightly oiled citrus, barley and coffee. With water it oozes liquid citrus – tangerine and orange all liberally dusted with castor sugar and flecked with peat.

Palate: Full and malty with treacle, tar and lightly fishy-peat. Succulent, macerated yellow fruit appears tinged with a light violet note. Water brings out the oils and makes it a little simpler, but it’s gorgeously mouth-filling with that parma violet note really noticeable now.

Finish: A little masked by its alcohol but it gives it a seriously mouth-watering intensity! With water it has a dry, lightly salted and dusty peat finish.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 2009 (7 year old) 50%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OMC2631/ Dist: Dec 2009 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

A pleasant, malty, oily, full and dusty nose with oily/ tarry peat and hints of seaweed, iodine and sweet barley beneath. Wonderfully vibrant, salty and distinctly modern Caol Ila in character.

The palate is a little fresher but still relatively oily with white fruit, barley, sweet but dusty peat, malt and tar. It fills out rather well on the middle and gives it a good dense mouth-feel. Long, crisp, citric and salty (rock salt) but the richness of fruit and barley balances and underpins.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 2009 (7 year old) 50%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OMC2632/ Dist: Dec 2009 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

The nose is lighter than 2632 and more youthful with crisp, salt laden white fruit and subtle, herbal peat. Lightly malty with a touch of barley emerging.

The palate opens quite crisp, but there’s a sprinkling of granulated sugar. Showing more peat of the medicinal/ herbal variety, along with tar and subtle white fruits. A very salty middle leads into a lightly oiled but coastal finish with the gritty, dry peat smoke, salt and peppery white fruit lingering

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 2008 (8 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2609/ Dist: Nov 2008 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Dec 2016

A big hit of brine, medicinal peat, seaweed and astringent smoke greets the nose, but beneath is some barley sweetness. Quite ‘phroaig-like with hints of manure, coffee and cocoa. With time it becomes sooty in character but still wonderfully fresh.

The palate opens with a combination of coal and peat dust, followed by sweet oak, barley and hints of apricot and banana, all coated in a lovely ashy cloud! Fills out well on the middle as the oils arrive. Long and salty but subtly sweet too. Wonderfully balanced with a light medicinal and peat dust after-taste. For an 8 year old it has great depth, but £73 is a lot to ask for an 8 year old, even if it is very good.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 1996 (16 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2273/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: May 2013/ Tasted: June 2013

Quite dense and malty aromas with a lovely peppery spice and a soupçon of medicinal peat. Quite manuery and other with a touch of stewed apple.

The palate is full and sweetly peated with hints of earth, iodine, smoke and soot all underpinned by a dense baked fruitiness. Lovely length with peat fires and burnt wood notes in the finish along with a light coastal, bog myrtle intimation. Pleasantly fresh now with some light vanillins and a citrus twist.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 1996 (17 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2328/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Oct 2013/ Tasted: Nov 2013

The nose is quite gentle and rubbery with mint. Iodine, bog myrtle and sweet peat with some sweet, duty violets. The aromas veer between oily and fresh with the oily toffee notes eventually dominating.

The palate is fresher and slightly coastal with seaweed, mint, bog myrtle, leafy herbs and sweet barley. Gently peated and oily with plenty of citrus on the middle. The peat becomes pleasantly sweet on the finish as hints of sweet violet appear. Lovely, dusty oak finish and although it’s relatively lightly peated, those peat notes definitely linger.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 1996 (17 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2352/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Jan 2014/ Tasted: Feb 2014

The nose is quite subtle and botanical. So lightly peated it’s practically unpeated! That lack of peat allows the malt to show its unfettered citrus character. Wonderfully soft with a sprinkling of sea salt and developing honey glazed barbequed meat.

Like the nose the lack of peat allows the soft, summer barley to shine and the sugars to come through. Lovely depth, lightly oiled and lightly spiced. The alcohol, salt and citrus combine to give a mouth-watering finale and although the oak bitters a little at the death the sweet, violety stained fruit balances.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 1997? (17 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code:OMC2373/ Tasted: May 2014

A classic, crisp and fresh nose of citrus and white fruit. Quite coastal and stringent with hints of method, mint and garden greens. Moderately peaked with lightly medicinal peat, tar and late notes of ozone lemon.

The palate is quite full with more oak influence. Lightly oiled and less effusive. Moderately coastal and tarry, but the oak is blanketing. It becomes a bit fresher as the salt comes through. Good, fresh finish as the spirit finally throws off the oak shackles – iodine, lightly medicinal peat and dusty/sooty peat. Light, coating, fish oil after-taste.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 1994 (18 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2305/ Dist: Sept 1994 Btl: Aug 2013/ Tasted: Sept 2013

Wow the nose reeks of, no not peat, but parma violets! Big dollops of sweet barley and rich apricot fruit, but those aromas are beaten into submission by the parma violets! With time hints of sweet but lightly manurey pet and a touch of smoke can be discerned along with some light fish oils, but it’s parma violet city!

The palate is quite full and fleshy with sweet apricot and yellow fruit, which is almost but not quiet tropical in character. The robust coastal peat arrives with plenty of sooty, woody smoke which curtails the fruit development but it leaves a lovely sweet, light (surprisingly) parma violet infused smoky finish.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Caol Ila 1996 (18 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2472/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Apr 2015/ Tasted: May 2015

A fresh, grassy and effervescent nose of white fruit and citrus along with hints of lemon sherbet, light beeswax and phenolic peat.

The palate is a touch sweeter than the nose with lightly waxed lemon, iodine and sweet white fruit. Lightly peated with building brine notes on the middle. Good, menthol laced finish with lingering dusty peat and dusty violets.

 


Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Caol Ila 2009 (5 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ European Oak Quarter Cask Finished

Code: HEP0118/ Dist: Dec 2009 Btl: Nov 2015/ Tasted: Dec 2015

Pungent aromas of burnt wood, malt, treacle, thick, oily peat. And crisp coastal notes. Lightly medicinal with manure violets and earthy notes.

Oily and full on the palate with barley, white fruit, apricot and soft, earthy peat. Hints of salt and tar follow with plenty of lovely violety notes on the middle. The malt has a lovely sweetness and balances the bracing coastal character. Long, fresh and continuing coastal and a lightly medicinal finish.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Caol Ila 2008? (5 year old) 46%

Code: HEP0023/ Dist: ???? Btl: June 2014/ Tasted: July 2014

A youthful but full nose of lightly perfumed orange, sweet barley, fleshy apricot, Apple and malt. Lovely coastal astringency with a touch of lightly medicinal peat.

The palate is full and lightly oiled in the modern style. Hints of fleshy apricot, apple and barley. Lightly coastal with a touch of medicinal peat. Excellent length with the oils, iodine and sooty peat dust coating the mouth.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Caol Ila 2008 (5 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: HEP0057/ Dist: Dec 2008 Btl: Aug 2014/ Tasted: Sept 2014

Youthful aromas of lemon drops, nascent barley and light ‘off the still’ notes. Very lightly peated with hints of manure coming through with time.

The palate is like the nose – young and lightly oiled with hints of slightly soapy lemon, salt and barley. Reasonable length with the youthful notes lingering and finally a little woody-peat puts in an appearance.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Caol Ila 2011 (5 year old) 46%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: HEP0248/ Dist: May 2011 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

A very fresh, briny and peaty nose with coastal infused white pear and apple. it develops some pleasant sweet peat and barley and eventually becomes quite estery.

The palate is softer and opens with sweet barley, apricot, pear and sweet peat. Like the nose it is quite estery and fruity with building peat smoke and salt. Lovely vibrancy and dusty sweet barley and peat smoke finish. Leaves a lovely residual saltiness.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Caol Ila 2009 (6 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Wine Finished?/ Code: HEP0205/ Dist: Sept 2009 Btl: July 2016?/ Tasted: Aug 2016

The nose open with the sweet red fruit and subtle peat. Lightly syrupy and oily with a balance seam of citrus. it becomes quite manurey and stinky with time with a touch of earth and tar.

Lovely, soft palate with again the syrup coated red fruit and subtle peat up first. Oily and tannic on the middle with plenty of wood spice and fish oils. Lightly phenolic finish with a lovely dusty/ sooty peat and salty finish. Pleasantly balanced.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Caol Ila 2009 (6 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: HEP0140/ Dist: Sept 2009 Btl: Aug 2016?/ Tasted: Sept 2016

The nose is quite sweet and barley’d with medicinal peat, iodine and a touch of smoked meat. It becomes quite tarry and salty with a developing manurey note.

The palate opens with the milky oak, barley and subtler medicinal peat notes. Full and chewy with a long, meaty, medicinal and salty finish.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Caol Ila 2009 (7 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Wine Finished

Code: HEP0233/ Dist: Sept 2009 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Dec 2016

Heavy and oily aromas with tarry peat and subtle winey notes. The nose is a little discordant but strangely attractive with hints of granulated sugar coated manure! The peat becomes very prominent with time.

The palate opens with winey red fruit and syrup, followed by dusty peat, tar, coal and manure. Less discordant than the nose with a good intensity with developing coffee’d tannins. Long with buckets of drying peat dust, citrus, salt and finally sweet barley. Lovely progression.

Mackillop’s Choice Caol Ila 1981 (30 year old) 56.9%

Bourbon Cask 3234/ Dist: 1981 Btl: March 2012/ Tasted: Aug 2012

Seriously mature aromas with an almost rum-like or old grain whisky demeanour. Lashings of dried fruit and mature oak with hints of medicinal, briny peat, lemon and dusty smoke. It has to be said that it takes quite a while before those aromas break free of the oxidised, dried fruit shackles, but when they do, the nose is truly magnificent. Now it’s augmented by a lightly scented citrus note and the salinity comes through with some determination. Very, very complex with a late herbal/ camphor note. 

The palate is a touch on the woody side, which can be forgiven and those rum like dried fruits are definitely in eveidance. Lightly fishy with the dry peat building rather pleasantly. Quite a refreshing middle as the lemon arrives and it fades rather magnificently into a mature oak and peat smoke finish. Very mouth-filling with a late herbal white fruit note. 

Dilution makes the nose more floral with the lemon aromas displaying a lovely purity and slight crystallised character. Still quite full and fleshy though. The palate is a little sweeter, with more of a castor sugar coating to the fruit. A bit less complex now maybe but like the nose itg has a lovely purity of lemon notes. Personally I would drink this neat as the palate does become a tad over confected but there’s a light parma violet and bog myrtle note in the finish.

Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 1996 (11 year old) 48%

Bourbon Cask/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: Sept 2008

Quiet a fruity nose although a bit simple. In saying that it has a lovely purity of peat, backed by hints of rubber, vanilla and manure An earthy, slightly smoky entry. Very dry middle with a short burst of peat smoke and medicinal notes. Good length with loads of smoke and a touch of iodine. In conclusion it a bit simple, lacking a real depth and complexity. A one trick pony, albeit a pleasant one!

Wilson & Morgan Coal Ila 1984 (23 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1984 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: Sept 2008

Mature and medicinal aromas mingle with vanilla, peat and rubber sowester notes. There’s a bracing, astringent edge to the bouquet. The palate is mature and smoky, however it’s a touch watery with mellow peat, rubber and hints of coal smoke. All in all a bit simple, lacking fruit and complexity, probably too old.

Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 1984 (25 year old) 46%

Bourbon Cask 5398/ Dist: 1984 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: Aug 2010

Aromas of hot, wet asphalt, intensly astringent coastal fruit, old rope, more tar and lightly fishy liquid peat. Oozing class! One minute it seems quite mature, the next some youthful cereal emerges. Faintly sooty, very complex, brilliantly mad! After that nose the palate is a big disappointment. Lacking the complexity of the nose and a bit vague and homogenised. The finish is intense and hot with a coal briquettes after taste. In conclusion – Great legs, shame about the face!

Vintage Malt Whisky Company Coopers Choice Caol Ila 1991 (16 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1991 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: Sept 2008

Extremely briny aromas of citrus fruit which has an almost perfumed character to it. There are hints of bog myrtle and iodine. Quite pungent but appears to be showing some maturity at the edges. A nice nose. Hmm, now it all starts to go very wrong!

The palate is watery and muted. Pretty much one-dimensional with a suggestion of coastal citrus fruit. Quite long surprisingly with salty and smoky .After such a pleasant nose the palate was a huge let down.

Vintage Malt Whisky Company Coopers Choice Caol Ila 1991 (16 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1991 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: Sept 2008

Pungent and peaty nose. It definitely takes no prisoners! Lovely complexity though with intense briny notes and rubber. Very crisp (Caol Ila?) with late, developing orange fruit.

The palate is slightly watery. Being kind you would say it is more delicate than the nose would suggest. The palate also displays a greater maturity and there’s some late charming coastal orange fruit. Long and exceedingly coastaly and finally the peat puts in an appearance. There’s an almost winey note and leaves a coal dust coating on the tongue. In conclusion – Great nose, disappointing palate, great finish. Maybe it just takes awhile to get going the finish is the best bit about this!