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“Because you can't buy happiness... but you can buy whisky and that's pretty much the same thing”

Read stories about Caol Ila of A Wardrobe of Whisky blog.

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Caol Ila Unpeated Stitchel Reserve 2013 Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Caol Ila

Diageo’s Special Releases are quite an event on the World of Whisky. I really stopped paying attention to them a few years ago, tired of prices going up and up and age of the whiskies down and down… but still… if you have the money and don’t have anything better to do with it they are usually fantastic drams.

So after a few years with no so unpeated whiskies, this Caol Ila really delivers what it promises. Let’s review it

“Unpeated, really unpeated but crazy delicious whisky. The taste is really awesome, damn Diageo... I will have to spend my money”

90
Caol Ila Unpeated / Stitchell Reserve / Bot.2013 Islay Whisky
2013's unpeated release of Caol Ila is named for distillery manager Billy Stitchell, who is retiring after almost 40 years at the distillery. This year it's been bottled without an age statement and despite being 'unpeated' there's a definite smoky tang to the whisky, although less so than in previous years.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. honey, citrus, toffee, spices, vanilla, salt.

Palate (91): powerful, oily. honey, salt, citrus, spices, pepper, candies, cinnamon, wood.

Finish (90): longer than average. honey, wood, salt.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Caol Ila Unpeated / Stitchell Reserve / Bot.2013 Islay Whisky with 90 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Miguel says…

Lovely! I am a peat head but this whisky is fantastic even if there is no trace of peat in it. Make if half the price and it is a good deal.


Caol Ila 2014 Feis Ile Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Caol Ila

Following my review of a lovely peated macho Bunna, here I am again with a review of a pretty decent Caol Ila from Feis Ile 2014.

“A really complex Caol Ila with a powerful fresh fruity ka-boom!”

89
Caol Ila 2002 - Feis Ile 2014
Caol Ila's Fčis Ģle 2014 bottling was selected by new distillery manager David Wood (a truly excellent name for anybody in a position to choose casks) who carries on Billy Stitchell's great work. Matured in refill American oak hogsheads, 1,500 bottles have been released.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (88): more than average. honey, vanilla, baked apples, citrus, smoke.

Palate (90): powerful, oily. honey, citrus, vanilla, winey, fruits, peaches, spices, cinnamon, wood.

Finish (90): longer than average. honey, citrus, spices.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Caol Ila 2002 - Feis Ile 2014 with 89 points over 100.

As always I tasted it blind and it is surprising that it is just aged in american oak casks. It is so fruity and complex… I was expecting something crazy combinations of casks. It isn’t amazing but it is quite close to it.


Caol Ila 1984 29 years old Signatory for TWE Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Caol Ila

You can’t drink enough Signatory whisky… this Caol Ila almost 30 years old was fantastic but… ooops… let me show you the tasting note first.

“It is a Caol Ila with very little peat muscle and almost no sherry influence ( it says sherry cask aged ). It is quite good but I have tasted better old Caol Ila whiskies”

91
Caol Ila 1984 / 29 Year Old/ Sherry #2758/ Signatory for TWE Islay Whisky
A sherry cask bottling of 1984 vintage Caol Ila, hand picked by The Whisky Exchange and bottled by Signatory at 29 years of age. Peated whisky from sherry casks can be exceptional, such as this example.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. flowers, peat, honey, spices, vanilla, candies.

Palate (91): powerful, oily. honey, peat, earth, citrus, spices, floral.

Finish (90): longer than average. floral, spices, wood.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Caol Ila 1984 / 29 Year Old/ Sherry #2758/ Signatory for TWE Islay Whisky with 91 points over 100.

As I was telling you the whisky is fantastic but the price isn’t that interesting. £150 for a 30 years old independent bottle is too much for me… but you have deeper pockets than mine it certainly worth it.


Feis Ile 2013: Mammoths, Pink whisky and Peat

By Miguel in Laphroaig , Caol Ila , Lagavulin , Ardbeg , Bowmore

Argh! Isn’t Spain lovely? Sun, beach, siesta and 35ŗC every day of the summer. I am so desperate I will even drink a Johnnie Walker on the rocks. Man! I need a break. So there I was at my favorite summer spot, on the shadows, under a huge ceiling fan when the whisky fairy ringed the door…

Feis Ile 2013 Ardbog Laphroaig Bowmore Caol Ila

My bottle of Laphroaig Cairdeas arrived home and well, as I happen to have several samples of this year Feis Ile 2013 thanks to the chaps of Master of Malt ( thanks to them and to £50 I spent on the samples ) I decided it was time for a proper healthy peat tasting to combat this awful heat wave.

happiness

In case you don’t know, Feis Ile is Islay’s annual festival of Malt and Music. Islay has a long and ancient history of Gaelic music and the last week in May was a time when both island musicians and indeed Gaelic folk musicians from the mainland would gather on the island to play and sing at Ceilidh’s, the Gaelic word for Gatherings. But not all it music, all of the eight Islay Whisky Distilleries join the celebration in what is probably the most famous whisky event in the World calendar.

So let’s see some of the whiskies I have taste. Let’s stay from the south and move up.

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Macho-peat tasting: Kilchoman, Caol Ila and Lagavulin

By Miguel in Tasting , Caol Ila , Lagavulin , Kilchoman , Ardmore

In my quest to empty the samples queue, I have chose today some macho peated whiskies and an Ardmore.
Like a champion!

Some Kilchoman, some Lagavulin, one Caol Ila and one Ardmore. What else can a man ask to be happy?! ( Yes, yes, but it isn’t sold in a bottle )

I am really excited with the Ardmore because it is my first from this distillery, and I am a big fan of Kilchoman whiskies… so wild and salvage!.

I wanted to taste the Lagavulin 21yo against some real whiskies to see how it measure against them. On its own I was quite happy with it, although not happy enough to pay £350 for it.

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Whisky Tasting Session 2012-08

By Miguel in Tasting , Featured , Caol Ila , Bunnahabhain , Bowmore , Tomatin , Glen Keith , Longmorn

This Whisky Tasting Session was the last event of the 2012.

In case you missed previous tasting sessions, WTS are a blind tasting of six whiskies chosen by Jean Marie of Whisky-distilleries.info. Our task consists on tasting them, rating and find the right price range of the bottle.

I have been a bit stressed so I decided to do the tasting in a short break that I had and send Jean Marie the results as soon as possible. I have learn two things:
a) Don’t taste on a rush.
b) Don’t trust my skills to guess age of a dram.

Jean Marie placed on this tasting some awesome and incredible bottles some of them over 30 years old. So now that I know what I was tasting I will take a bit of time to retaste them and check if the score or the tasting note departs for the previous blind tasting.
It would be a huge dissapointment if they do, as I do my best not to score the distillery, the color, the price or the bottle but the whisky for itself. I will keep you updated.

The tasting was interesting but nothing close to sensational, but after filling the tasting notes I realized that I have tasted some very special whiskies: a 38 years old Bunnahabhain, a 35 years old Bunnahabhain and a more than 30 years old Caol Ila.

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Enjoying SMWS 53.171 Caol Ila 21 years old

By Miguel in Tasting , Caol Ila

“Very nice Caol Ila. 21 years old and still full of peat power”

91
Caol Ila SMWS 53.171

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. peat, lemon, honey, salt, fruity.

Palate (91): powerful, oily. peat, honey, citrus, salt, earth, chocolate.

Finish (91): longer than average. honey, peat, citrus.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Caol Ila SMWS 53.171 with 91 points over 100.

Tasting Compass Box Flaming Heart vs Peat Monster

By Miguel in Tasting , Featured , Laphroaig , Caol Ila , Compass Box , Tobermory , Ardmore

When visiting London for TWE Whisky Show, I meet Chris Maybin, Comercial director of Compass Box. Chris gave me a sample of the new Compass Box Flaming Heart 4thbatch to taste it at home.

compass-box-chris

Well, finally I arranged a free evening for tasting it when I saw @WhiskyLassie asking how it compared against Compass Box Peat Monster. Also I have a pending task of tasting the old recipe of Peat Monster with Laphroaig and Ardmore against the new recipe using Caol Ila, Ledaig and Ardmore.

A great tasting was starting to appear before me.

compass-box-flaming-heart-peat-monster

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Tasting Caol Ila 18 years old

By Miguel in Tasting , Caol Ila

“Good Caol Ila whisky but if you ask me I prefer the 12 years old.”

88
Caol Ila 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Extra ageing has calmed the impact of the phenols, with the peat arriving on the palate late, and tempered by smooth oak. A very mellow, mature Islay malt.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. peat, salt, vanilla, citrus, spices.

Palate (89): smooth, powerful. peat, honey, salt, citrus, floral, spices, pepper, wood.

Finish (87): average. peat, honey, citrus.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Caol Ila 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky with 88 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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The Peat Paradise: Islay from Bunnahabhain to Port Ellen

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Featured , Laphroaig , Caol Ila , Lagavulin , Port Ellen , Ardbeg , Bunnahabhain , Kilchoman , Bowmore , Bruichladdich

Islay is an island in the west of Scotland that produce a style of single malts that you either love or hate: peated whiskies.

Gregor Haslinger Islay photo
(Photo on top of one of the Jura Pups looking south overseeing the Isle of Islay by Gregor Haslinger)

You may wonder why such an small island have so many distilleries and I hope this article enlighten you and share with us the passion for peated whiskies.
I have tasted already many of the whiskies created at Islay but I really wanted to taste them all in a row so I can compare them side by side. I hate when I taste blindly a whisky and I can’t decide if it is a Caol Ila ( most are ) or an Ardbeg.

So come with me in this trip around Islay in nine drams. Oh man! I am sure you can smell the smoke from there.

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