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is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

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is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby bloodyalways » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:14 pm

I'll try almost any whisky but cant get too far away from the islays.My favourite so far being Laphroaig qc,closely followed by lagavulin.

Not being an expert by any means i tend to stay with the recommendations on this site etc.however this means i started with the more popular single malts(particularily the islays) and i have been reluctant to go towards the slightly less popular islays as im concerned they will be of a lesser standard.

Anyway..the sterotypical armchair expert collared me in the shop today and pointed me towards the caol 12year old assuring me it will not dissapoint.Which leads back to my origonal question on wether or not the favourites on this site in particular are fairly uniform or are there a few trend breakers who dont have the ardbegs,lags and laphroaigs at the top of the islay tree.

p.s i tend to like 'in yer face,barnstorming,blockbuster,rich,smoky'whiskys as a rule.is the caol which is sat there waiting for me to open gonna impress?
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby bcrossan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:27 pm

It will not be as smokey and peaty as the other Islay whiskies you mentioned, but I enjoy this one nonetheless. Very good all around whisky IMO
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby TheTross » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:37 pm

Lagavulin is my favourite Islay, but Caol Ila is right up alongside it for me. As bcrossan said, it's not quite as smoky or peaty as the south coast Islay whiskies but it's probably the most oily. I also find it quite briny and peppery, and some expressions are surprisingly fruity. The 12yo is quite good, but for sheer power I'd recommend getting the CS bottling if you can find it. For something a little more sophisticated go for the 18yo. I've heard the 25 OB is very good as well, but I've not tried that so can't pass comment.
Last edited by TheTross on Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:45 pm

bloodyalways wrote:...is the caol... gonna impress?

I'm sure it will!

While the 12YO isn't a 'bog monster' along the lines of the Kildalton trio of whiskies (Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig), it most certainly IS one of the best balanced whiskies around, bar non. You'll taste fruit as well as lots of seaside flavours, and will probably really like the oily texture too.

Diageo 'did good' by finally (after so many years of not marketing this distillery's make as aggressively as it should have) bringing Caol Ila into the limelight.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Willie JJ » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:51 pm

Like everyone else so far I don't have anything but good things to say about Caol Ila. It has to be one of the few drams that has never failed to impress me.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Mr Fjeld » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:57 pm

Same here - I love it. The 12 is very nice.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Giovinetti » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:34 pm

I have liked every Caol Ila (OB + IB) I have ever had with the possible exception of the 18yo. I can't say it is my favorite Islay because the others also produce stellar drams that I like even more.

If you really want to be blown away by CI try getting a hold of the 25yo 1978-2004 (59.4%). It certainly is among the top 10 whiskies I have ever had.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby bloodyalways » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:06 pm

The bottle is open and slightly less full than an hour or so ago.....i thought it was a quality example of an islay.Peaty but not aggressively.smokey but in a mild(for an islay anyway)form.Kind of an every day drinking version of a Laphroaig.Surprisingly mild actualy.

Probably not a compliment but it reminded me of the asda own special islay. :shock: But i actualy quite enjoy that aswel.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby TCDrammer » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:28 am

I enjoy the 12YO a lot, myself. Salty, oily, with a taste of brine and olives. Some nice smoke there too. I love it as a compliment to seafood dishes, or as an aperitif when I want something oily/salty before dinner.

Good stuff! :thumbsup:
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby bloodyalways » Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:32 am

the asda special does after another tasting really taste of caol.it is a blend so i wonder if it has a majority of it in it.Big diference is the colour.The Caol is much lighter!
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Willie JJ » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:12 pm

bloodyalways wrote:the asda special does after another tasting really taste of caol.it is a blend so i wonder if it has a majority of it in it.Big diference is the colour.The Caol is much lighter!
It is most likely mostly CI. The colour could be caramel.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Gov » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:33 am

I really like the 12 year. Also, for a blend, try White Horse. I get a good bit of Caol Ila in that whisky. As far as my favorite Islay, Laga 16 for me!
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Willie JJ » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:50 am

Traditionally the main islay malt in White Horse was Lagavulin. Might be different these days though.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby I_SPEY » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:12 pm

I'm realy in :shock: , because nobody is mentioning the Caol Ila 13yo Chieftain's Manzanilla Finish. That one is just GREAT :P

:cry:
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Jhelder » Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:08 pm

CI is a well balanced Islay whisky...I really love it...but my favorite is Lagavulin CS and Port Ellen OB.

Slainte :P
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Gov » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:01 am

Willie JJ wrote:Traditionally the main islay malt in White Horse was Lagavulin. Might be different these days though.


I think its now Caol Ila.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Willie JJ » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:15 am

It does seem likely.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby corbuso » Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:28 am

To answer your question, Caol Ila is not my favourite Islay, but I enjoy it very much. To my opinion, in terms of quality/price, it has the best ratio for an Islay whisky. I don't remember of having tasted once a bad caol ila.

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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby bankerjoe » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:43 pm

I rather enjoy the 12 year; I have a bottle at home.

As others have mentioned, it is a little more balanced, and by no means a peat monster.

Strangely, I have found myself at times smelling a slightly grassy note when I pour myself a dram of 12.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Ganga » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:18 pm

Caol Ila falls down the list for me but that doesn't mean that I think it is poor. I just much prefer Ardbeg, Bowmore, Laphroaig.

I can attest to having had at least one very poor bottlings. There was an IB 19 yo. I might as well have been chewing lime rinds. That was it; nothing else. Then again there was this 19 yo Cooper's Choice that was sublime. Nice mellow smokey/oily characteristic with just the hints of fruit.

The 25 yo I tried was good but not exceptional. Minty and vegetal.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Giovinetti » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:19 pm

Ganga wrote:The 25 yo I tried was good but not exceptional. Minty and vegetal.


I am curious as to what 25yo you had? 1978 or 1979?
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby The Happy Drunk » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:25 pm

I'll bite. The Caol Ila 12 yr is my favorite Islay. Laphroiag is way too intense for me - I don't need any more of that one. I enjoy Ardbeg though it's a more austere whisky. Ardbeg is my "mean" whisky of choice. Bowmore is good, but a bit odd. The 12 year has a nasty after-bite sucker punch of peat that is disconcerting. The Legend was OK but nondescript. The Darkest was too bipolar for me - intense peat with intense sherry just never gelled on my palate. I just got my first bottle of Lagavulin a few months ago, and I'd say it is the most similar to the Caol Ila of the other Islays I have had. The Laga is meaner, angrier, more pungent and powerful. It just comes off as overpowering, and I don't want to wrestle with my whisky. Plus it's $30 more than the CI.

But the CI hits me right in the middle. The peat is strong but not angry, the depth of flavor is inviting and it rewards further inspection. I always want a little more and I always taste a little bit more every time I try it. I find it very well balanced.

Payday is tomorrow and I'm off to buy a cask strength 6 year old CI. Should be interesting!
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby v1p » Sat May 02, 2009 12:52 am

For me Caol Ila 12 is the best midshelf whisky.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby kyorke1 » Sat May 02, 2009 1:56 am

About a month ago I bought the 12yo OB and was impressed with its balance. I have to agree with The Third Dram

The Third Dram wrote: You'll taste fruit as well as lots of seaside flavours, and will probably really like the oily texture too.


which is very apparent, I get blackcurrant immediatly as the spirit hits the tongue followed by the seaside flavours which become more salty as the bottle goes down. I have an IB also - the Wee Dram 10yo bottling which is also as good.

A cracking dram IMO. Difficult to say though whether it's my favourite.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby sinclair » Sat May 02, 2009 10:04 am

Have always enjoyed Caol Ila even the strange Distillers Editions.I also had a suberb Wee Dram bottling which was 12 yrs old and was probably one of my top ten drams. (still have 1 bottle stashed away).
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Reggaeblues » Sat May 02, 2009 1:30 pm

I received an SMWS Caol Ila last year as a gift, it was called "Frivolous Whisly" Gawd knows why. But what a dram! Would give any Ardbeg a run for its money, and I lurve Ardbeg...

Also have a soft spot for CI 18, a dram of which was handed me by my best man as we got into his car after our wedding in 2007!
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby The Third Dram » Sun May 03, 2009 2:30 pm

sinclair wrote:Have always enjoyed Caol Ila, even the strange Distillers Editions.

"Strange," it may be. But I find the DE to be a very 'circumstance dependent' sort of spirit. As an example, I poured some DE last night following a meal of poached trout served with a German Riesling, and the whisky, with its wine cask influenced element, provided a seamless flavour continuim that was absolutely perfect.

In contrast, the drier and more assertive releases of Caol Ila, such as the Cask Strength, make for superlative aperitifs,
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby lincoln imp » Sun May 03, 2009 5:53 pm

I believe the 18yr Caol Ila is a very good dram indeed and i`m not a peat head :thumbsup:
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby jhershauer » Sun May 03, 2009 8:15 pm

v1p wrote:For me Caol Ila 12 is the best midshelf whisky.


This is where I'm at with Caol Ila as well. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's my favorite Islay overall, but I can't think of a better Islay value than Caol Ila 12. I suspect I'll always have an open bottle of this available at my house.

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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby Novice Scotch Fan » Tue May 08, 2012 2:07 am

Gov wrote:
Willie JJ wrote:Traditionally the main islay malt in White Horse was Lagavulin. Might be different these days though.


I think its now Caol Ila.


I'm not so sure about that. I just got a bottle in North Carolina and it states on the back label that Lagavulin is at its "heart". Diageo wouldnt make that claim if it werent true. I paid $18 for this recent bottle.

And its a damn good blend by the way.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby peatypete » Thu May 10, 2012 4:56 pm

Only tried an IB of Caol Ila. Vintage Signatory 2000, 10yr, I like it a lot. I'd like to try Laphroaig QC next.
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Re: is caol ila(sb)anyones favourite islay?

Postby whiskgeek » Fri May 11, 2012 5:38 am

I've had a couple of independent Caol Ilas. They taste a lot more like Laphroiag than the regular Caol Ilas do. Which is good.

As for the OB's, I agree with many of the old comments above. Not my favorite Islay, but it's always a damn fine dram.
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