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Islay done the Highland way - Caol Ila Unpeated 15 year old
21 March 2020

Caol Ila is one of the most hidden away Whisky Distilleries on Scotland’s most famous Whisky Island, the Isle of Islay. For years it has remained a hidden gem of a brand, known only by connoisseurs and collectors who look to it for whiskies with a distinctive Islay smokiness and dry sea-air aromas. Such is its innate character that it manages to evoke a certain sense of place with every dram – whether you’ve visited the magical island or not.

Of course, being an Islay Distillery, Caol Ila is most well known for producing peated Whiskies. But every so often the distillery produces a batch from unpeated barley, and here things start to get really interesting. This release, a small parcel from the 2018 Special Releases series, is a natural cask strength bottling that was produced without peated malt, in something akin to a Highland Style. Ageing took place in a combination of refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts. A rich, deeply fruited sherry influence certainly develops the longer this sits in the glass. Oily, mouthcoating and robust, with a burst of honey and peach and the faintest touch of smoke that creeps in on the finish and betrays the fact that this is after all, an Islay malt. Beguiling, unusual, and just the thing to keep the mind occupied during an extended period at home.

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