Showing posts with label Caol Ila 1995 (Douglas Laing). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caol Ila 1995 (Douglas Laing). Show all posts

Caol Ila 1995 (Douglas Laing) Review

“Have Yourself a Peaty Little Christmas”  

Whisky Review # 849

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 1995 (Distilled in January 1995)
Bottled by: Douglas Laing (Old Particular Series) in August 2015 - 282 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # DL 10870
Age: 20 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 51.5%
Maturation: Refill Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 170 (December 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay - 20 Year old Single Malt can't be cheap.
Buying Advice: ­čśÉIt's good but there are better Caol Ila options at this price.

Colour: Chardonnay (Natural Colour)


I love the coastal Aromas of well-matured Islay Malt. This Caol Ila is still quite fresh for a 20 year old Single Malt. I wouldn't say that cask # 10870 was a very active one though. The Nose is slightly underwhelming. There's a bit of Alcohol in the air so don't poke your Nose in the middle of the glass. The Nose is good but not great.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Slightly Burnt Toast, Coastal Peat (Wet Earth), Cold Smoke, Ash, Soot, Iodine, Fish & Shellfish, Gas Station, Vanilla, Banana-Flavoured Yogurt, Tropical Fruit like Pineapple & Papaya and Green Vegetables.     
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Salted Butter, Tar, Wet Grass, Farmyard, Band-Aid, Wet Sand, Apple-Vinegar, Menthol, Rubber, Leather, Olive-Oil and Dried Herbs.


Sweet and only ever so slightly Sharp. All the Flavours of mature Islay are there for you to enjoy.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Salted Butter, Wax, Cold Cigar Smoke, Wet Peat, Ashes, Soot, Brine, Toasted Oak, Fish & Shellfish on the BBQ, Lemon, Tobacco, Banana-Flavoured Yogurt, Aniseed and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Tar, Iodine, Band-Aid, Caffe Latte, Dried Herbs, Olive Oil, Apple- Vinegar and Pepper.       


Quite Long and remarkably Sweet. Medium-Dry. A light Bitterness of the Oak. It invites you to have another sip! I find Sweet Toasted Barley, Soft Wet Peat, Cigar Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Iodine, Brine, Vanilla, Salted Butter, Caffe Latte, Wet Stones, Lemon-Pepper, Leather, Diesel, Aniseed and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Caol Ila. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 86

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Quite Nice.


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 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.

Well-Matured Islay Malt is certainly one of my favourite types of Scotch Whisky. Therefore, it won't come as a surprise that I liked this Caol Ila. I liked it but I didn't love it. I believe this could have been a great Single Malt when a First-Fill Bourbon cask would have been used. There are enough of those around so I can't quite follow the reasoning for using a Refill cask to mature a good Islay Spirit for 20 Years. I'm just saying! It' s still a very enjoyable Single Malt but I would choose other Caol Ila options at this price level.

I would like to wish all readers of Best Shot Whisky Reviews a very Merry and Malty Christmas. May the good Spirit always be with you!


Jan van den Ende                                                              December 24, 2019

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014