Single Cask Nation Caol Ila 8 Year

Scotch Whisky Review #211: Single Cask Nation Caol Ila 8 Year

Distillery: Caol Ila

Bottler: Jewish Whisky Company

Region: Islay

ABV: 61.4%

Cask Type: Refill Oloroso sherry butt.

Cask Number: 300153

Age: 8 Years. Distilled Jan 2011, Bottled Nov 2019.

Price: £75.00

Color: 0.3, Pale Gold.


Nose: Pretty much only one thing comes to mind and that is smoked salmon. It’s got a bit of saltiness to it that comes from the salt cure along with that distinct fishy-meatiness. There’s a little bit of sweet that comes along with the smoke which is delightful.

Palate: The notes from the nose transfer themselves beautifully in the palate. There’s trace amounts of smoke with a nice barbecue-like sweetness; it almost tastes of hickory barbecue chips. There’s a bit of salty sea air coupled with a nice meaty note. It’s somewhere between a smoked ham, smoked bacon, and a bit of smoked salmon; all of which will have had honey liberally basted on them. Perhaps it is a combination of all of them. At full strength, it’s incredibly deceptive. It doesn’t drink like something north of 60% ABV. The dram warms up considerably with a bit of water added to it, though it remains pleasant and doesn’t ever turn into a fiery heat. The smoke notes go up a notch but you lose out a bit on the sweet and salty notes.

Finish: Very long. Starts off with a bit of that sweet hickory before going into bit of peat smoke. Towards the end, there’s the distinctive note of dark chocolate which helps clean things up and prevent it from becoming too heavy.

Conclusion: Whisky heavy on smoke and peat usually require me to be in the right mood to try. This Caol Ila bottling by the folks at Single Cask Nation, however, might be one that I’d reach for no matter what mood I’m in. For the lack of better words, it’s just delicious. There is a decent amount of smoke and peat here but it doesn’t overpower everything like other whiskies might but rather elevates the other notes. The smoky and more savory notes throughout are balanced very well with the bit of sweet and salty notes resulting in me drinking this a little faster than I probably should have. The finish keeps the balance going bringing in some more bitter notes in dark chocolate for clean up leaving a very clean taste on the tongue instead of the heaviness that can linger from these whiskies. I’d almost recommend against adding water to this because the balance gets disrupted so much when you do. This is definitely one I’d love to add to the bar.

Final Score: 89.

Scotch Whisky Review #211, Islay Review #23, Whisky Network Review #304


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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