Caol Ila, 18 Year Old, Islay, 2017 Release, NV

  Caol Ila

£83.33 for 1x70cl
7 btls
Caol Ila, 18 Year Old, Islay, 2017 Release

Fresh and citric, this is an excellent example of Caol Ila sure to make a stimulating apéritif. Delightfully rich, with a fruitiness usually just hinted at in Caol Ila, it’s a fine dram that’s even better with a drop of water.
Appearance: Pale yellow gold. Moderate beading.
Nose: Surprisingly weighty, with a meaty backbone that doesn't rely on the distillery's usual smoke for depth. Initially sharp and prickly, the first impression is of lemon zest, edging towards lemon drizzle cake and lemon sherbet sweets, or perhaps honeysuckle, vanilla cream and egg custard, along with toffee, green-leaf herbs, fruit gums and soft spiciness. Later, a dry minerality builds in the glass, adding a chalk and flint austerity. The addition of water softens the nose and adds fleeting scents of pine-sap and artist’s studio, against a maritime background.
Body: Weighty, with fast running legs.
Palate: The taste is sweet (boiled sweets), acidic (bitter lemon) and salty, walking a knife edge between all three. Occasionally it slips into sour orchard and sweet candied fruit, then into intense salted caramel and toffee. Hints of sea-spray dance the edges, along with barrel-char smokiness, oak, black-pepper spiciness and fresh clean notes. Finally, the fruit and char unite in triumph, as fresh-baked apple pies. Water amplifies both fruit and spice, with liquorice and orange zest, the spice gaining heat and a hint of chilli. With water, these primary tastes soften yet remain clear, becoming more rounded and accessible.
Finish: Warming, soft and long, with notes of vanilla and spiced pastry, succeeded by aniseed, polished oak, bittersweet liquorice and a last burst of red berries, which fades to soft spice, sweetness and oak.

Contains Sulphites.

About Caol Ila

Caol Ila is pronounced “Cull Eela”. It’s the Gaelic name for the Sound of Islay, which separates the island from Jura. For some, the distillery’s pronunciation is as remote as its location, sitting as it does on the rugged eastern coast, where it has remained hidden from view since 1846. However you say it, the fine, smoky whisky produced by generations of islanders is worth exploring. For more than 100 years small coal-fired “puffers” like the SS Pibroch brought barley, coal and empty casks to the distillery, returning her whisky to the mainland through the Sound of Islay. Today, Caol Ila’s secret bay is only known to true Islay devotees. The barley used here is still malted locally at Port Ellen and pure spring water still rises from limestone in nearby Loch nam Ban, then falls to the sea at Caol Ila in a clear crystal stream, just as it always has. Like sea air and peat fires, the distinctive Islay smokiness makes Caol Ila whisky a reference point for connoisseurs of Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky the world over. It’s dry, sea air aromas and pleasing smoky-smoothness evokes a certain sense of place for the drinker – whether you’ve visited this magical island or not.

Appellation: Islay

Islay, the southernmost of the Scottish islands, is almost always recognised by its peaty expression. Islay is covered in peat bogs and in traditional times burning peat was the most effective way of heating and drying the barley used in whisky production. As peat burns it releases pungent peaty smoke which in turn infused the drying barley and influences style.

Among its famous active distilleries, Islay boasts one of the most legendary of ‘lost’ producers: Port Ellen which closed doors in 1983. Beyond the obvious lurks a surprising diversity of spirit, making the identity of Islay whisky a more elusive prospect than might first appear.

Islay is also one of the fastest growing whisky regions in Scotland with several new distilleries having come online in recent years.