Caol Ila distillery was founded back in 1846 by Hector Henderson who soon after operations started was forced to sell to Norman Buchanan in 1852, just 11 years later the Distillery was sold again to Bulloch, Lade and company who were Blenders located in Glasgow.
Re-built and expanded in 1879 the Distillery was soon producing over 147,000 gallons ( 668275.23 litres) of whisky each year.
1920 and Bulloch Lade goes into liquidation and the Distillery is run under the name of Caol Ila before DCL becomes sole owners..
Mothballed during the war ( 1942-1945) the distillery was then demolished in 1972 with only the original warehouses surviving, re -built and operational again in 1974 after a 1million pound re build and with its 6 new stills producing a capacity of 6.5 million litres the distillery is now under the Diageo umbrella.
Todays review is for the Caol Ila Distillers Edition, distilled in 2001 and bottled in 2013 with an Abv of 43% this expression is initially matured in American oak before having a final “ finishing” period of around 6-8 months in Moscatel wine casks..
Nose.. The ashy smoke leads the way with distinct smouldering wood, burnt toffee, toffee apples, and orange rind.. A touch of cinnamon and nutmeg surface but this is all about the smokiness..
Palate. Dry smoke and a real earthy flavour are prominent with spices, honey and over ripe fruit mixed with a little chocolate and a gentle wispy coastal note..
Finish.. A smokey dry finish with soft lingering spices.
Thoughts.. The more I drink Caol Ila the more I begin to really appreciate it.. The one thing that surprised me with this Distillers Edition is the way the smoke still dominates, unlike the other Distillers editions where the finish seems to calm it down a little.. The “ finish” on this one does seem to get lost behind the smoke a little but that’s not such a bad thing as it does not loose its identity..
A solid Caol Ila that just does not disappoint, ranging in price from £65-£70 Mark for what is essentially a 12 yo “limited edition” yearly release isn’t too far off the mark..