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My Caol Ila 12 review

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My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby tuddy24 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:01 am

So after making a decision based on all the responses to my "Islay." post, I went a head and picked up the Caol Ila 12. I popped the cork, poured a dram, and let it sit for 10 minutes. These are my impressions:

Color: Pale straw, doesn't look like much. I hate flashy appearances anyway so who cares.

Nose: Beautiful balance of peat, smoke, sherry, apples, and cream. Nothing sticks out here, I'm pleasantly surprised by this. I was expecting a peat bomb but this is not it. Maybe the Bowmore has turned me to Islay for good.

Palate: Oh heavens, how gorgeous this is. I couldn't help but think of a good Riesling with sharp acidity wrapped in a sweet blanket. Someone once said a good champagne is like a sword wrapped in luxurious cream. This is the most "bubbly" Scotch I've ever had! Flavors I pick flavors like raisin, white wine like flavors-Alsace comes to mind for some reason, and smoky peat. This Scotch is very "fresh". Very nice.

Finish: Medium yet crisp, there's a "zip" I had mentioned I was looking for and this has it. I get a bacon fat flavor on the finish. While the Bowmore 12 is more "full", it's a bit boring compared to the Caol Ila. It's like you're waiting for something to happen and it never does. Not so with the Caol Ila! I like them both though, they both have interesting aspects to them.

I think I love Islay, if I try to drink my beloved Glenlivet 12 I'm bored to death now. What would be a step up from Caol Ila? Lagavulin? Ardbeg?

Thanks for all your suggestions everyone, they're much appreciated!

-Pete
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby dramtastic » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:20 am

Caol Ila Cask Strength :)
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby pkt77242 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:30 am

Nice review. Ardbeg and Lagavulin would both be great choices. Ardbeg 10 being saltier, some seafood (such as mussles and oysters), peat, smoke and lemons. Laga 16 is a more refined. some sherry, peat, smoke and a lack of the coastal notes in the Ardbeg 10.
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby Ardbeg311 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:46 am

What about staying with Caol Ila? You could try the Distiller's Edition in order to get a feeling for what a finish can do to a whisky's profile. Try the CS version as has been suggested. Or, hunt down a CI 25yo which I have found not only brings out the greatness of the 12yo, but offers more complexity given the extra time in the cask (they also are at cask strength). In short, a lesson on what age can do for a whisky.
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby Dubois » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:48 am

Try Lagavulin 12 Yrs.
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby kyorke1 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:01 pm

Great review. I love everything about CI12 from nose to finish. I have tried to describe the flavour at the tip of the tongue before but to little success, I think the white wine you mention fits quite well, perhaps a German wine, a Liebfraumilch maybe and that prickle at the back of the throat - fantastic.

Interestingly and similarly to yourself, I now find Bowmores disappointing as well as most Speysides - they lack something.

The 1979 25yo is certainly worth trying, beware of plenty attack which surprised me. I haven't got around to trying the 1978 yet.

A step up from Caol Ila? For me Caol Ila is pretty much at the top - yes the Lagavulins Ardbegs are exceptional, need to be tasted and in most cases have more to offer but are not as enjoyable or as easy drinking as Caol Ila 12 or CS. Port Askaig has a similar flavour profile. If anything is a step up I would have to say Port Ellen.
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby The Third Dram » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:55 pm

Lots of very fine recommendations have been made above.

If you're looking for a no-holds-barred Islay flavour thrust, then the cask strengths (such as the Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Laphroaig) will definitely provide some additional fireworks for your palate, with the last-mentioned probably offering the greatest counterbalancing sweetness owing to its rather pronounced vanilla-laced overtones. I find the CS Caol Ila the driest of the three... But what a wonderfully appetizing whisky it is!
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby Drammed » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:33 pm

Another Caol Ila that has not been mentioned but is quite good for a different reason is the cask strength 8 yr unpeated. It allows more of the caol ila underlying flavours to emerge if you can't taste past the peat on the regular 12 yr.

edit - Ardbeg is quite a step up in the sharp citrus/peat flavour profile from Caol Ila, but it does follow a similar taste profile. The Lagavulin is a sherried malt so will taste quite a bit different.
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby tuddy24 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:32 pm

All,

Once again I thank you for your comments and suggestions. I'm going to pick myself up something nice this weekend, still not sure exactly what, but I'm looking forward to it!

-Pete
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Re: My Caol Ila 12 review

Postby johan brugge » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:15 am

Nice tasting note! I look forward to the next one.
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