Brand: Caol Ila 2007 Distillery Limited Edition (Bottled for the Feis Ile Festival)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
ABV: 58.4 %
Sample provided by Marlie from The Netherlands. Many Thanks!
Colour: Pale Gold
Nose: Young, Nervous and Laphroaigish. I might have invented a new word here! Lots of Phenols, Ashes, Tar, Rubber, Smoke, Coal, Sweet Coastal Peat, Brine, Leather, Raw Meat, Shellfish sprinkled with Lemon, Muenster Cheese, Oak, Sour Grapefruit Juice, very Light Sherry and Toast with Salted Butter. This Caol Ila could do with a bit more Fruit on the Nose. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.
Palate: Still Rough and Edgy but with more Fruit now, mainly Apples and Mango. I also find Peat, Coal, Tar, Charred Driftwood, Shellfish sprinkled with Lemon, Salt, White Pepper, Crispy Bacon Chips, Iodine and light Vanilla.
Finish: Quite Long and Sweet with Peat, Smoke, Ashes, Tar, Juicy Apples, Salt, White Pepper, Lemon Zest, Oak, Menthol and light Licorice.
With a little Water the Nose becomes more Gentle. But you also take out the main Islay characteristics. It's almost like you travel from the Seashore to the Farm. I get Straw, Wet Leather and Vegetable Peat. On the Palate, Fruit and Peat are reinforced while Pepper and Menthol start to rule the Finish. You can certainly experiment with a little Water here.
Nose: 21 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5
General Remarks: The Caol Ila I am reviewing today was bottled especially for the 2007 Feis Ile Ferstival on Islay and was sold exclusively at the Distillery. Only 2000 Bottles were commercialised. This Single Malt matured in both Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry Casks. It is Non Chill-filtered and bottled at Cask Strength. It won't be easy to find a bottle but the price would be around 160 US Dollars.
Caol Ila (Gaelic for Sound of Islay or Islay Strait) is located on the Strait that separates Islay and Jura. The Distillery was founded in 1846 by Hector Henderson. After changing hands many times, the Distillery now belongs to the Diageo Group. Caol Ila supplies lots of Malt Whisky to known Blends like Johnnie Walker and Black Bottle
Drinking Experience Neat: Good
Conclusion: Certainly an interesting Caol Ila. It's quite young and edgy and resembles a young Laphroaig. On the Nose I miss Fruity tones. The way it is, the "Dirty" Islay tones are a bit too dominant. I like the Palate although it's quite strong and might scare off the beginning Whisky drinker. I can see myself happily dramming this Caol Ila after a long walk on a cold and windy Islay. If anything, the White Pepper notes are a bit overdone. On the positive side I really liked the Charred Driftwood, Shell Fish and Bacon Chips. Decent Finish. I don't think I would want to spend 160 Dollars on this Caol Isla but I did enjoy tasting the sample that Marlie kindly provided.