Caol Ila 18

Bottle: Standard Caol Ila range bottling with the usual smoked glass.

Nose: Gentle peat smoke, seaweed, salty liquorice, faint tropical fruits.

Body: Lighter side of medium. Silky with a little oily residue.

Palate: Grassy and herbal with a touch of honeycomb and pineapple. The peat smoke is slightly delayed and quite mellow. This a very pleasant if a little predictable.

Finish: Shorter than I was expecting. A combination of sour, smoky and salty. Quite nice but a touch abrupt at the end.

Neat/Ice/Water: Neat. It’s only 43% and quite gentle at that, so no watering required here.

Verdict: Superior. This is a very calm and amiable dram. No scary Islay peat monster here. It’s inviting and gentle and beckons you to keep on sipping in an unhurried manner which is all too easy to do. It’s comfort level is (almost) a negative in that it feels just a touch hollow. Something just a little beefier at it’s core, a slightly deeper finish perhaps and it would be superlative indeed. I love long aged Caol Ila and would easily buy this again. It’s really well crafted and quite sumptuous. I suspect at cask strength it would be amazing. It may be that I now judge all Caol Ila’s against the Signatory 31 year old cash strength TWE bottling that makes me want to cry it’s so good. Perhaps I’m nitpicking? Rest assured this is top stuff. You wont be disappointed.

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