Price Point: $50 – $60 for 750 ML
It’s been a little while since I reviewed a good old fashioned Islay whisky (the most recent was Bunnahabhain which is a little different than most whiskies sharing its island of origin). I really enjoy these whiskies since, for whatever reason, I can find distinguishable differences between them despite such a strong pedigree of shared characteristics. They can be so subtly different, yet that slight variation can mean the difference between a mediocre whisky and a great one.
Caol Ila 12 Year Old has a pretty decent repuation. Then again, so do many of the Islay whiskies out there. So let’s give a try and see how it holds up.
The nose is a beautiful mixture of smoke and peat. There’s light iodine followed by some creamy vanilla. This is a salty and sweet mix of the very best that Islay has to offer.
Caol Ila 12 Year Old is one of the few whiskies that tastes very much like it smells. It’s peaty and smoky, salty and sweet; well aged and nicely balanced. This one sort of reminds me of Laphroaig Quarter Cask. It stains your palate at the first sip, so don’t drink this if you plan on sampling another whisky afterward.
The finish is very pleasant; one of those that will hang around for a little bit.
Rating & Recommendations
This is a really nice whisky, earning a rating of 85 out of 100.
Caol Ila 12 Year Old is a more manageable Islay expression compared to the Ardbegs of the genre. A must try for fans of peat and smoke.