...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The 2023 Caol Ila mini-cluster!

Ah, Caol Ila, the faceless corporate factory that consistently cranks out high quality whisky with nary a human touch, like the MGP of Scotland, but different.

Constructed above the Sound of Islay, its namesake, the original Caol Ila distillery passed through several owners between 1846 and 1927 before being consumed by DCL to help fill the whisky giant's blends. The two-still distillery was flattened and then replaced by a six-still facility in 1972. Forty years later, additional washbacks were added to increase production capacity to meet the Johnnie Walker beast's needs.

A side result of being a popular blend ingredient, Caol Ila's single malt has found its way into the warehouses of all the major independent bottlers. In fact, by the end of this month Whiskybase's Caol Ila list will cross 5000 different whiskies.

While I do not possess 5000 Caol Ila samples, 🙁, I do have quite a few. This blog is a little short on CI posts (there are more Kilchoman reviews!) so let's fix that. As December offers perfect Caol Ila weather, I'm going to dish out a mini-cluster of Port Askaig's smoky stuff for the rest of 2023, specifically bottlings from Signatory and Gordon & MacPhail. A larger cluster will follow in 2024.


2. Caol Ila 9 year old 2010 Signatory, cask 316659 - "...dates, figs, blood oranges, apricots, and cashews."
3. Caol Ila 9 year old 2010 Signatory, cask 316637 - "...ashy and raw at times [...] a bit violent with the tastebuds."
4. Caol Ila 11 year old 2010 Signatory, cask 316662 for The Whisky Exchange - "...would certainly thrill Ardbeg fans with all its Bigness."
5. Caol Ila 14 year old 2007 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 311973 for Nickolls & Perks - "...the butt's previous contents (which smell a lot like Pedro Ximenez) gradually consume most of the CI character."
6. Caol Ila 10 year old 2006 Gordon & MacPhail, casks 306183+4 and 306186+7 - "This tilts much more towards my preferred take on Caol Ila."
7. Caol Ila 14 year old 2005 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 17600504 - "The spirit is older now, holding onto its pleasures while beginning to soften and take on subtle notes from the cask."
8. Caol Ila 14 year old 2003 Gordon & MacPhail, batch 18/005 - "...more of a dessert CI than anything else."
9. ??? G&M ???
10. ??? G&M ???