The Caol Ila Distillery was established in 1846 on the coast near Port Askaig, by Hector Henderson. Caol Ila means "Sound of Islay" in Gaelic. A waterfall supplied power for barley hoists and pressure for fire hydrants. Until the late 1950s Caol Ila brought barley and sent its casks to market from Islay's remote shores on M.V. Pibroch, a traditional island coaster or "Puffer" boat.
Light and fruity on the nose. Immediately shows a sweet note of ripe guava. Unbaked white bread dough. A creamy whiff of unsalted butter. Some scents of fresh leather and new rubber. There’s not much seaside to this, only the wispiest residual iodine aroma.
Starts with a lean stoniness taste. All of the sudden, this perks up with the savory spiciness of Japanese curry sauce. Some charming salty flavors of cashews and walnuts emerge at midpalate, which persist into and through the finish. There’s a vaguely stale woodiness at the back of the mouth before this is rounded off by the lingering sickly-sweet flavor of overripe pineapple. Throughout, there’s more of the subtle iodine as a nod to Islay’s maritime environment.
A delicious and refined Caol Ila very much in the style of the 12 but softer, more elegant and with a longer and more demure finish.