Islay distillery Caol Ila is renowned for its peat smoke – but there’s so much more to this single malt than merely its ember qualities, as Diageo likes to remind us every so often with the launch of an unpeated expression. This is what we have here with this 18 year old, American oak hogshead-matured, natural cask strength single malt. Once a year the distillery swaps out its peated regimen for unpeated production runs, and the fruits of that labour shine through in this fragrant little number. But it’s still got that Caol Ila signature – we even detected a whisper of smoke on the finish. Tasty stuff.
Isle of Islay
Nose: At the tasting we attended, “chocolate digestives” was met with universal agreement. Quite creamy with bourbon hints and sliced peaches too.
Palate: Fruitier now, fragrant and concentrated with a little furniture polish. This is complemented by the expected soft caramel and clean seashell character.
Finish: Cake-like with just a hint of smoke (even though this is ‘unpeated’).
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