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Caol Ila, 12, 15, 15 Signatory?

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Caol Ila, 12, 15, 15 Signatory?

Postby jeffk » Fri Dec 30, 2005 5:29 am

Hi, I'd like to try a Caol Ila, and am interested in lots of peat, and long finish. For those that been lucky enough to try the different ones, can you offer me some guidance on which might fill those two categories best? The Caol Ila 12 OB, 15 OB or 15 Signatory? Anything that stands out for any of the 3?

Thanks! Obviously I'd like to get all 3, but I've gotta take this a little slower than that :)
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Postby barrelproof » Fri Dec 30, 2005 8:12 am

What do you think about the caol ila cask strength?
This is my favourite caol ila. I don't know bottles from signatory.
The caol ila cask strength is a very heavily peated dram.
The cask strength has more peat in the flavor as the 12 or 18 years old together....okay not really :D:D
Don't take the caol ila 18 years old. This might be a very disappointing choice.

So I hope I could help you a little bit.
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Postby Admiral » Fri Dec 30, 2005 9:12 am

I haven't tried the Signatory, but in my experience, independent bottlings of Caol Ila have been nothing less than brilliant.

But - since I haven't tried it - I must therefore forego that choice and instead heartily recommend the OB 12yo.

Cheers,
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Postby BruceCrichton » Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:19 pm

Not had the signatory bottling but indie bottlings are usually better than official bottlings of Caol Ila so I would go for that.

DTC's Auld Reekie is the best Caol Ila, for those who like a peaty dram.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:26 pm

I've got a Signatory bottling of a 1990 13yo 46% Caol Ila.
It is as good an expression as I've tasted.
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Sat Dec 31, 2005 5:56 am

BruceCrichton wrote:Not had the signatory bottling but indie bottlings are usually better than official bottlings of Caol Ila so I would go for that.

DTC's Auld Reekie is the best Caol Ila, for those who like a peaty dram.


Sorry, Bruce; My taste-buds say otherwise.
For quite some time now i have avoided the C.I. 12yo OB as i've found it to be a tad inconsistant and have tried the Auld Reekie as an alternate and was even more disappointed.
DCT has ruined many a whisky and this is a perfect example of it!
They charge more for a smaller bottle of whisky that can't hold up to an inconsistant OB's quality, what a bunch of pirates!
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Postby Frodo » Sat Dec 31, 2005 7:54 am

BruceCrichton wrote:Not had the signatory bottling but indie bottlings are usually better than official bottlings of Caol Ila so I would go for that.

DTC's Auld Reekie is the best Caol Ila, for those who like a peaty dram.


I'm going to stick my neck out and say Bruce is "spot on" in my experiance. I was really disappointed in the 18yr OB, and the CS was good although abit unbalanced in a way I find hard to decribe. All the IB Caol Ilas I've had have been good to great, the best of them being DTC Auld Reekie.

Just from the choices you've given Jeff, I'd go for the Signatory bottling by default. I'm not a great fan of Signatory bottlings in general, but the two CI's I've had from them have been excellent. Still would have to hold my breath to buy something I haven't tried yet though!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:49 pm

Sorry to be the party pooper, but my experience of IB Caol Ilas is that they have been all over the map. A 1990/12 from Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection was one of the most unpleasant bottles I've ever had, all harsh ashtray flavors. That doesn't mean the bottle you're looking at isn't a good one, but if you can't get a sample or a specific recommendation, and can't afford to be daring, you might want to stick with OB's, which are probably not the most stellar of Islays, but are at least fairly consistent. Remember that Caol Ila wasn't available as an OB until quite recently and was all intended to be Islay-influence in blends, allowing Lagavulin to bottle more as single malt. The wood seems to be highly variable, indicating that they would use whatever they could get. Cask selection, obviously, is everything. A Douglas Laing bottle I had a couple years ago was awesome, but another Laing recently was very disappointing, especially for a Laing--again, ashtray on the palate. The only bad Laing I've ever had.

In other words, yes, the best Caol Ilas are IB's, and so are the worst, and there is a wide range in between.

The 12 will certainly give you more of what you're looking for than the 18, although I think the 18 is a perfectly good dram. I also think the cask strength is your best bet, if you can get it--it's not available here, and maybe not in the US (anyone seen it?). I'm not sure why, as it is bottled in 750's for Canada.
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Postby Crispy Critter » Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:22 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:A 1990/12 from Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection was one of the most unpleasant bottles I've ever had, all harsh ashtray flavors. That doesn't mean the bottle you're looking at isn't a good one, but if you can't get a sample or a specific recommendation, and can't afford to be daring, you might want to stick with OB's, which are probably not the most stellar of Islays, but are at least fairly consistent.


Good advice, although the one Caol Ila IB I've had (a Signatory UCF 1991, bottled (I think) 2003) was quite enjoyable. I've also had the OB 18, and I felt it was quite a worthy dram, and fairly reasonable in price for SMSW, especially these days.

As an aside, if there is any consolation to the price hikes for Scotch, it's been that I've taken the opportunity to explore bourbon and straight rye - and I've liked what I've found!
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Jan 01, 2006 10:39 am

Lord_Pfaffin wrote:
DCT has ruined many a whisky and this is a perfect example of it!
They charge more for a smaller bottle of whisky that can't hold up to an inconsistant OB's quality, what a bunch of pirates!


I'm curious to know how you've come to this conclusion ?
Which whiskies have they ruined ?
IMO they've had some damn fine whiskies , a few which have got me into things i would never have tried , like the Single Grains . I've never been disappointed by ones i've tasted .
Price wise they've been consistant , not what i would say over charging for rare and old whisky from popular distilleries , wish i could say the same for a few other indies !
The Auld Reekie and Big Smokes have been very good whiskies for the price .
Calling them a bunch of pirates is a bit OTT !
But everyones entitled to an opinion .......
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Caol Ila

Postby Bob & Jill » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:02 am

This topic hasn't been up for a while. I would like to renew it with this question:

I just bought an on sale bottle of Gordon & MacPhail's Connoisseurs Choice-Islay which is Caol Ila 1988 (a 13 yr old 40% alc). I was hoping it would be as good or better than the OB of Caol Ila 12 (which we really enjoy) since it was slightly more expensive. Haven't opened and tried it yet. Would like to get some opinions from those that have-- first.
Thanks,
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:32 am

Well, you already have it, so what good is our opinion now? :P I think you should drink it and tell us what you think of it.

I haven't had that particular one, but find CC's in general a little weak at 40%--I remember one Caol Ila being very soft. Quite pleasant, but not what one would normally expect from CI. You may well feel otherwise.
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Caol Ila

Postby Bob & Jill » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:04 am

Mr. T,
Thanks for your response---can always count on you with the fastest replies. Your remark on strength was helpful. I haven’t had a 40% single malt yet. I do, however, prefer 43% over 46% though. With 46% I have to fuss around with tiny drops of water to make it just right for me and that is a bit of a bother---especially when you overdo it and have to re-fortify it. I just wrote to Ardbeg about this (after receiving their informative Ardbeg Committee info packet and video CD)--with the comment that it would be nice to have something from them with a little less than 46%. Then I looked at their on-line whisky shop and saw they offered an Ardbeg Serendipity at 40% (not available in the USA). Hadn’t heard of that one before. I wonder if it will make it’s way to the States.

Anyway, I just hope the Caol Ila-13 40% is full bodied, complex and smoky.
Jill

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Postby Spirit of Islay » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:44 pm

Hi Jill,
i'd be interested in Ardbegs reply to that question seeing everybody else pushes for the ABV to go up not down !!!
They did releases at 40-43% i the past (1975 , 1978 , 17yo ) but thank god they had the sense to go down the 46% / NCF / no colouring Road , i just wish a few others of the Islay distilleries would follow them and Bruichladdich down the same path , i'd love to see what the Bunnahabhain 12yo O.B. would be like this way .

I prefer the stonger strength with none of them lovely oils removed !
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:46 am

I too prefer 46%. Or OMC's at 50%. Or cask strengths! It's largely a matter of acclimation, Jill. If I haven't had a dram for a week or so, even 40% will seem a bit spirity. But if I'm tasting regularly, 40% seems weak, and cask strengths are fine. In fact, lately I have mostly cask strength whiskies open, and I very rarely use water. But whatever works for you is fine. Just please don't ruin our fun by talking Ardbeg into dropping the strength of their whisky!
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Postby Bob & Jill » Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:08 am

Mr. T, In answer to your question: “Well, you already have it, so what good is our opinion now? ”,
If I get some questionable reports from the Forum on this malt, I still can return it and get something else. For example, had I read the Forum thread about Bowmore Darkest (its unreliability) I wouldn’t have purchased that bottle when I went uninformed looking for a sherry finish. Now after making that mistake and reading reviews of good sherry finishes, I will stick with Glenmorangie.

So has anybody out there tried Gordon & MacPhail's Connoisseurs Choice-Islay which is Caol Ila 1988?
Maybe I should also post this under the Q&A section, since it is a specific question.

P.S. Gordon, I too like the lovely oils & non chill filtered malts.
I like flavor and body without a lot of alcohol and Laphroaig 10 managed to do it.
I just found out in some other literature that Ardbeg 17 is 40%. I’d like to get a chance to try it, however most of my favorite malts seem to be 43% ABV. I would just love to be able to enjoy an Ardbeg without having to fuss with water. No, I don’t want Stuart to dilute Ardbeg 10 on my behalf, but it would be nice to have some other Ardbeg in 43% available in the USA. There is also a health consideration in this as well. It’s not too good to cauterize the esophagus with too strong an alcohol.

And about color. There is something very aesthetic about a lovely rich golden color of a malt. A pale color just doesn’t turn me on.
Just last evening Bob & I were setting on the front deck watching the last rays of sunlight, before it dropped below the mountain, shine through our glasses of Glenfarclas-12 and illuminate its beautiful color.
Jill
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Postby parvus » Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:55 am

I like how inviting and deceptive the young peaty malts are. What's this? It's almost clear, there can't be much to it... :shock:
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Postby Dubois » Sun Apr 30, 2006 4:46 pm

I have no experience with 15 OB or Signatory but only with 12 OB & 18 OB . In the same way I just loved the 12 OB,so was I disapointed with the 18 OB...
For me the 12 OB is a much underrated bottle,really TOP :!:
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Caol Ila 1988

Postby Bob & Jill » Sun May 14, 2006 11:51 pm

Mr. T,
In response to your statement: “ I think you should drink it and tell us what you think of it.” When I asked if anyone had tried Caol Ila 1988 (Gordon & MacPhail's Connoisseurs Choice), I now have a tasting report. We uncorked the bottle to celebrate the completion of our self-built home. I finally got the back hallway dry walled and painted. It only took 32 years to finally get the job completed---there were just too many other interesting things to do like canoe and taste different single malts.

Neither one of us are very good with putting into words what we are tasting in a whisky. We certainly can’t come up with all the flavors that the experts find in a malt. Nevertheless, we were very pleased with the 1988 Conn. Choice. There was no mistaking it was a Caol Ila. We had 1 oz. of OB 12 left in a bottle to compare it too. We were thinking this might not be a too fair comparison since it had probably breathed too much while sitting on the shelf in a almost empty bottle. What impressed me the most about the 1988 was the nose. It was very peaty but it also had something else that was light and almost lemony. I would rate the nose as good as Highland Park 12 (however Murray doesn’t). He was most impressed with 1988’s finish, calling it wonderful. I thought the finish nice but not as outstanding as the nose. Whereas comparing it to the OB 12, the 12 hardly had a nose. This was probably due to its loosing it in the almost empty bottle. The 1988 was more refreshing than the OB 12, with citrus tones---better in summer than winter I would say. There was a lightness or softness to it but it wasn’t weak. I was happy there still was plenty of smoky peat and a balanced malt.

We can agree with Dubois when he said: “For me the 12 OB is a much underrated bottle, really TOP” And we were just as pleased with the 1988.

We also agree with Admiral’s assessment of the 1988:
“I've tasted the 1988 G&M bottling you speak of, in fact I've still got an unopened bottle here at home. It's a pleasant enough Caol Ila - nicely peated, yet surprisingly still malty. I enjoyed it, hence why I purchased the bottle. I haven't done a direct A-B comparison with the OB Caol Ila 12, so I can't help you there, but I suspect the G&M bottling will be a little more gentle."

Jill
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(PS. I’m posting this under Tastings & Q&A since I started this thread in both places)
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