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Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Caol Ila 14 year old 2007 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 311973 for Nickolls & Perks

(Caol Ila cluster homepage)

One day I woke up and realized, oh crap, there are six more Caol Ilas in the cluster and only six days left in 2023. So it is time for a Caol Ila sprint to the finish!

Four out of the six Caol Ila G&Ms came to Diving for Pearls courtesy of a fellow blogger, the other two are from bottle splits. I'll go in order of vintage, rather than age, to see if the results get less...contemporary...as I go back in time.

First up, another one of these "refill" sherry butts that disgorged whisky almost coffee-colored. I didn't expect to see that from G&M, but I guess everyone plays that game now.

Distillery: Caol Ila
Region: Islay
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Connoisseurs Choice
Age: 14 years (2007 - 27 April 2022)
Maturation: Refill sherry butt
Cask #: 311973 - Batch 22/100
Outturn: 352 bottles
Exclusive to: Nickolls & Perks
Alcohol by Volume: 56.3%
(from a bottle split)


Assorted roasted nuts and nut butters lead off the nose, followed by carob, leather, and molasses. Honey coats a gentle ocean-like peat early on, then a very grapey PX note slowly consumes it. Heavier, darker smoke hits the palate. Dried berries and dried blueberries roll around atop wasabi and woody bitterness. It reads hotter than the ABV. It finishes with cigarette ash, dried cherries, and a hint of the bitterness.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1⅓ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Raisins, dried blueberries, and angel food cake push the peat further into the nose's background. The bitterness plays louder than the peat now in the palate, with cinnamon, dried apricots, and golden raisins in the midground. It finishes with ash and tannins.


A direct relative of (and perhaps even oakier than) the previous Caol Ila, this whisky is another cask monster. The nose shows some promise, but even there the butt's previous contents (which smell a lot like Pedro Ximenez) gradually consume most of the CI character. Again, this is not my preferred style of Caol Ila (or most whiskies in general). How about the next one....?

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - was £115
Rating - 81