Caol Ila 12 Years Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Pronounced “cull-eela”, this blender’s darling (and the largest-capacity distillery on tiny Islay) only became available as an official distillery-bottled single malt in a regular lineup in 2002, although it was founded in 1846. Caol Ila was actually demolished and rebuilt by owner DCL (now known as Diageo) in 1974. Its success as a blending component and its less “in-your-face” style has won it a reputation as a “milder” peated Islay malt, although the ppm phenols of its malted barley is the same as that used by Lagavulin (both come from the maltings at Port Ellen).
Nose: An intensely rich nose of Shreddies and toffee with hints of violet. When left in the glass for a minute or two, smoky bacon notes were also apparent. Palate: Fairly light in texture with notes of toffee, vanilla and pear joined by a hint of ash on the very back palate. Finish: Light in intensity, but not in complexity. The sweeter notes from the palate end fairly quickly, leaving a delightful subtle finish of ash, tar and light peat.