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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Caol Ila 10 year old 2006 Gordon & MacPhail, casks 306183+4 and 306186+7

(Caol Ila cluster homepage)

Yesterday's G&M Caol Ila came from a dark aggro "refill" sherry butt. Today's G&M Caol Ila comes from four first-fill sherry butts and is very light gold in color. This feels like a well-played trolling. Otherwise, was there a stinker or two in the quartet? It's the only 2006 Caol Ila with this 4-cask treatment.

Distillery: Caol Ila
Region: Islay
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Cask Strength
Age: 10 years (18 July 2006 - 30 May 2017)
Maturation: 4 first-fill sherry butts
Cask #s: 306183, 3061834, 306186, and 3061837
Outturn: ????
Alcohol by Volume: 60.2%
(Many thanks to My Annoying Opinions!)


After the first sniff, I wrote down "Real refills!" before finding out that these were in fact first-fills. The nose shows off zippy youth, with wood smoke, lots of apples, a few pears, roses, anise, and oysters! The palate offers salty peat, bitter herbs, and candied lemon peels up front, and ink, sweet oranges, and roses beneath. And there's much less burn than expected. Charred seaweed, bitter herbs, peppercorns, and lemons finish it off.

DILUTED to ~50%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

More cured meats and seaweed on the nose than raw peat. Apples, apricots, and cucumbers brighten it up. The simple but balanced palate delivers the salty peat, sweet apples, and sweet citrus fruits. Then the finish matches the palate.


This 10yo does indeed go the opposite direction, when compared to yesterday's Caol Ila. And compare them I am. The "refill" is hotter and woodier, while the "first-fill" is very spirit-forward and easier to drink. It reads like a 6 or 7 year old CI without the tongue-shaving edge that such baby whiskies can have. To answer my question from the intro, I don't think there was a bummer butt in the bunch, and the quadruplet was so well blended that it seems like a single cask. This tilts much more towards my preferred take on Caol Ila. (Mr. Opinions was even fonder of this bottle!)

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ?? or ???
Rating - 87