Caol Ila (pronounced “Cull Eela”) is the Gaelic name for the Sound of Islay, which separates the island from Jura. For some, the distillery’s pronunciation is as hard to grasp as its location, sitting as it does on the rugged eastern coast, where it has remained hidden from view since 1846.
For more than 100 years small coal-fired “puffers” like the S.S. Pibroch brought barley, coal and empty casks to the distillery, returning her whisky to the mainland through the Sound of Islay. The barley used here is still malted locally at Port Ellen and pure spring water still rises from limestone in nearby Loch nam Ban, then falls to the sea at Caol Ila in a clear crystal stream.
Caol Ila 12-Year-Old Whisky (86 proof)
Visual: Mild gold.
Nose: Fairly heavy peat smoke with an undercurrent of rich malt.
Taste: Overlaid with Islay smoke and brine, the actual whisky itself plays a quieter game. Slightly sweet and quite delicate, it is straight-forward and honest.
Finish: The creosote goes on for a while, whilst the whisky quickly fades into a distant memory.
Overall: Very much what you night expect. This is a Scotch for regular enjoyment over a single cube of ice or a splash of branch water.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Malts