Caol Ila Distillery on Islay is mostly known for its peated whiskies. There are a few unpeated releases though. I was lucky to get a taste from a good friend.
Caol Ila is owned by Diageo. Each year Diageo releases som whiskies as “Special releases”. Today I am tasting Caol Ila Special release 2014 Unpeated style. It has been matured for 15 years in first fill bourbon casks – which I usually love, by the way. It was distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2014 at 60,39 ABV (the ABV is not a typo – it truly is 60,39). The outturn was 10668 bottles.
Quite oaky and earthy on the nose. It smells like a cellar. It becomes rich after spending some time in the glass. I get at lot of chocolate. Rich and warm on the palate. It is complex. I get licorice, iodine, chocolate and vanilla. Even though this is an unpeated whisky, I get some peat on the palate. The finish is peppery and spicy with lemon and chili. It turns toward sweetness at the very end. This is a rich and complex whisky lingering on your palate.
My score: nose 22 / taste 23 / finish 23 / balance 23 =91