Showing posts with label 26 Years. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 26 Years. Show all posts

Caol Ila 1990 (Sansibar)

”Perfect Imperfection”

Whisky Review # 900

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 1990 - Chinese Theater Mask Label
Bottled for: Sansibar Germany and Spirits Shop's Selection Taiwan in 2016
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # N/A
Age: 26 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49.2% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Bourbon Cask -  Bottles: 210
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 300-400 (January 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: ­čśÉIt simply can't be cheap but it's a lot of money!
Buying Advice: ­čśőDelicious well-matured Islay. 

Colour: Golden Straw (Natural Colour)


Please give this Single Malt a bit of time in the glass before Nosing. On the Nose this Caol Ila is a pretty straightforward but very delicious well-matured Islay. Peat and Smoke are still there of course but they have calmed down with time. It's pretty rural actually and Cattle and Leather are never far away. It's also Sweet & Buttery with some Pineapples and Shellfish being readied on the BBQ. Too make it short, I love it!

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, A mix of Wet Clay, Straw, Grass and Cow Manure, Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Shell Fish and Pineapple on the BBQ, Leather, Green Apple, Herbs, Quality Oak, Pepper and Aniseed.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Brine, Iodine, Tar, Soot, Cigar Ashes, Wet Rocks, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Wax, Marzipan, Tobacco, Coffee Beans, Cinnamon, Ginger and Licorice.


Strong arrival. Mainly Sweet with a few light Bitter and Sour notes for balance. Lots of Character & Flavor. The Alcohol is there of course but it's pretty nicely integrated. It's not extremely complicated or refined. It is what it is supposed to be. A well-matured straight forward Caol Ila. Well done.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Mix of Wet Clay, Grass, Straw and Cow Manure, Fish/Shell Fish, Bacon and Pineapple on the BBQ, Seville Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apples, Leather, Herbs, Pepper, Ginger, Aniseed and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Burnt Grass, Soot, Tar Cigar Ashes, Brine, Iodine, Wax, Tobacco, Quality Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Licorice.



Long and, again, straightforward but oh so delicious. It's mainly Sweet with a few light Bitter and Sour notes. Medium-Dry. A mix of Coastal and Rural Flavors. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, the mix of Wet Clay, Grass, Straw and Cow Manure, Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Brine, Iodine, Tar, Soot, Cigar Ashes, Wet Rocks and Sand, Fish/Shell Fish and Pineapple on the BBQ, Heather-Honey, Leather and Tobacco, Herbs, Marzipan, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol, Aniseed and Fresh Green Apples. A little Burnt Rubber after a while.

Drinking Advice:

You can certainly add a bit of Water to this Caol Ila although it seems to stimulate Wood and Wood Spices, especially in the Finish. I like it both ways though.

Rating: 89

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Good


The Caol Ila Distillery was founded in 1846 and is located close to Port Askaig on Islay. It was bought by DCL in 1927 and through some mergers is now part of Diageo. The distillery was rebuilt in 1974 and only one old Warehouse reminds us of former days. Traditionally, Caol Ila is an important component of Blends like Johnnie Walker, Bell's and White Horse. But during the last 15 years Diageo has made great efforts to position the Distillery as a Single Malt as well. Caol Ila is really beautifully located alongside the strait between Islay and Jura. The Core range includes the 12, 18 and 25 Years, the Distiller's Edition as well as the NAS Moch. We enjoyed both our visits to the distillery in 2014 and 2017 respectively despite the fact that you're not allowed to take pictures.

I love well-matured Islay Malts and this is certainly one of them. If only all Whiskies that I review would be like this. Wishful Thinking! It's very expensive of course but how can it not be after 26 years in the cask. If you got the cash and you can find a bottle somewhere, go for it. It's worth it. This combination of Coastal and Rural Aromas and Flavors intermingled with this mature Smoke and Peat profile provide a breath-taking mind trip to Islay. Enjoy it if you can!


Jan van den Ende                                                                       January 25, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014