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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Caol Ila 11 year old 2010 Signatory, cask 316662 for The Whisky Exchange

(Caol Ila cluster homepage)

Oh hey look, another Caol Ila 2010 from Signatory! I promise this is the last one. In 2023.

All of four of these 2010 releases appear to have been part of a large parcel that Diageo distilled on the same day, September 22nd. Most spent their lives in refill sherry butts. Today's pour is the darkest Caol Ila I've ever had. My photo below is of no help, but check out the maroon hue here. Yep another "refill" cask. At least this one has an age statement in double digits, and the folks at TWE tend to pick well.

Distillery: Caol Ila
Region: Islay
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Range: Cask Strength Collection
Age: exactly 11 years (22 Sep 2010 - 22 Sep 2021)
Maturation: Refill sherry butt
Cask #: 316662
Outturn: 558 bottles
Exclusive to: The Whisky Exchange
Alcohol by Volume: 58.2%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from a bottle split)


A very different nose than the others, the whisky feels like it's going to be a savory one, with early notes of beef stock, seaweed, wet sand, and roasted almonds. The sugars arrive 30ish minutes later: dried currants, Heath Bar, and peated banana pudding. Ferociously smoky, peppery, and sweet, this palate reminds one of young Ardbeg rather than CI. It's a bit challenging to glean specific characteristics, but I do find grape juice, tart citrus, and cinnamon red hots. A little bit of savoriness appears in the finish, tucked behind the salt, ash, mint candy, and black pepper.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Drier peat smoke and hay greet the nose first, followed by lots of dried berries, seaweed, cinnamon, and milk chocolate. The palate has calmed, but is still very smoky for this distillery. Grape jelly rings and acidic sour lemons fill the background. It finishes with cigar smoke and mint candy.


This cask's very contemporary take on Caol Ila isn't my favorite, but it can certainly provide the illusion of warming up your guts in the winter. As mentioned above, this whisky would certainly thrill Ardbeg fans with all its Bigness. My preferred sherried CI style would be closer to cask 316659's, or a refill cask that hasn't been re-soaked.

In my next review, I'll leave Pitlochry behind and greet an Elgin bottler.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 83