Showing posts with label Caol Ila 18. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caol Ila 18. Show all posts

Caol Ila 18 Years Review

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” 

Whisky Review # 670

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Bourbon casks  
Chill Filtration: Yes     
Price Range: On average: US$ 125 (December 2017). 
Buying Advice: 😃 Must Buy. Very nice Single Malt. Too low ABV though. 

Colour: Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Pleasant and Well-Balanced. Nothing aggressive to be found. The Smoke weaves a magic spell around the other Aromas. No Whisky smells as good as a mature peated Whisky from Islay. Love it! The Peat is there but it's Herbal and Grassy rather than Coastal. I also find Sweet Barley, Toast, Caramel, Vanilla, Toffee, Straw, Salted Pork Meat, Light Soot, Rubber and Diesel Oil, Iodine, Wet Rock, Apples and Pears, Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit), Cinnamon, Pepper, Clove, Pineapple, Butter and traces of Leather, Licorice, Wet Paper and Tobacco.

Palate: A little Thin but again very Agreeable. It's not at all Complex but you just want another sip and another...It's basically Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour elements. Again, good balance! I find Toasted Cereals, Sweet Barley, nice Grassy Peat, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Vanilla, Marzipan, Pork/Bacon on the BBQ, light Soot, Ashes and Tar, Iodine, Mandarin, Lemon, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Apple, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol, Licorice, Toasted Oak and traces of Leather, Chocolate, Tobacco, Herbal Tea and strong Espresso. The Smoke is a beautiful misty flavour in the background.    

Finish: Bitter-Sweet, Oily, Creamy, slightly Sour and Salty. Pretty Good! I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Nutella, Floral Peat, Apple, Pear, Mandarin, Lemon, Grapefruit, Toasted Oak, Chocolate, Iodine, Soot, Tobacco, Leather, Dried Herbs, Menthol, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg and Cinnamon. Hints of Smoked Fish and strong Espresso. If anything, a little Thin. This would be great at 46% or even Cask Strength.        

Drinking Advice:

The Caol Ila 18 Years easily accepts a few drops of Water. It doesn't change the main characteristics although the Smoke does become more evident. Slowly add a few drops to see what it does for you.   

Rating: 89     

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

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

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 10 years Diageo has made great efforts to position the Distillery as a Single Malt as well. Caol Ila is beautifully located alongside the strait between Islay and Jura. The Core range includes the 12, 18 and 25 Years 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.

The 18 Years was released in 2002. A non-peated version also exists. 

Visit May 2014 "That's the Spirit"
🍷  The Spirit 

The distillery operates three pairs of stills. The Still room provides a magnificent view towards Jura. The Lyne arms possess either a straight or downwards angle. The fermentation time is 60 hours. The Spirit is full-bodied Medicinal and Herbal. The Water is sourced from Loch nam Ban. The Malt is peated to 30-35 PPM.

🌲  The Wood:

I have no official information on this item. Based on Nosing and Tasting I believe the 18 years matured in Refill Bourbon casks.  

Drinking Experience: Very nice.

ConclusionI adore the Caol Ila 18 Years. It even beats the 25 Years although they share the same problem. And that's the fact that the ABV is too low in both cases. Both could have been really great whiskies at 46% or Cask Strength. The 18 is still very good though and I simply love the way how the Smoke in the background embraces all other Aromas and Flavours. It's a very nicely balanced Single Malt. It's a joy to take sip after sip. Today, Few distilleries have 18 and 25 years Whiskies in their core range. So Diageo, please reconsider the ABV of both the 18 and the 25 Years of Caol Ila. These whiskies fully deserve it and you would do the fans of this beautiful distillery a great pleasure. And that's what Single Malt should be about shouldn't it. To create the ultimate sipping pleasure!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 21, 2017

Visit May 2014