Caol Ila 15 Year Unpeated Style (2018)

Scotch Whisky Review #223: Caol Ila 15 Year Unpeated Style (2018)

Distillery: Caol Ila

Region: Islay

Age: 15 year

Cask Type: Refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and European oak ex-Bodega butts

ABV: 59.1% Cask Strength

Color: 0.7, Amber.


Nose: (according to the wife) This is pretty straightforward. There is some lemon and something medicinal, almost like Ginseng tea. Not much else going on here.

Palate: At full strength its quite hot. It is a mix of lemon and a bit of something creamy which reminds me of lemon yogurt. With water, the heat does calm down quite a bit. The lemon note becomes stronger and sweeter, almost like a lemon curd.

Finish: Long. It is quite bitter as well. The bitterness reminds me a lot of how an IPA would finish with all of those hops.

Conclusion: I’ve run into a few distilleries where their official bottlings just don’t quite impress me. Caol Ila seems to be one of them. Their 12 year was nothing special and unfortunately, this 15 year old unpeated release of theirs doesn’t last long in the memory either. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t bad by any definition of the word; the bits of lemon yogurt and lemon curd are fairly nice. It is, at least for me, far too straightforward and simplistic. I was left searching for some sort of depth in flavor and just didn’t find any. Not bad but far from memorable.

Final Score: 76.

Scotch Whisky Review #223, Islay Review #27, Whisky Network Review #331


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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