Caol Ila 25 years

Review 2017-051 «Specifics» Single malt • Bottled in 2014 • 43.0% Alcohol • Matured for 25 years in a combination of undisclosed casks • Chill filtered • Caramel coloured • Caol Ila  • Port Askaig • Islay • Scotland • Limited availability (14,000 bottles) • Still available (price €140-160) • Whiskybase #70202

STORY. This has been introduced in 2010 as a permanent addition to their official range and succeeded cask strength versions released in 2004 and 2005. To the disappointment of many whisky enthusiasts, the strength was lowered to 43%. Although the price has considerably gone up recent years, for a 25-year-old standard bottling it is still reasonably priced compared to others.


APPEARANCE. Classic and basic design, colour of the contents is golden and is slightly artificially coloured.

NOSE. Subtle and balanced. The influence of the wood is directly noticeable, but not disturbing and well integrated in the spirit. There is also a strange, not disturbing, slightly chemical acidity in the background that I cannot directly pin down. The usual lemon and lime are next in line along with caramel, oranges, roasted shrimps with some drops of lime juice, umami, roasted chicken in sweet sauce, some Japanese-inspired spices, coriander, fresh pineapple, mango and other tropical fruits, white port and more lemon. Obviously here is peat and smoke, but they are submerged and intermingled in the complex whole. Further up on the road I also find some fresh, mineral, more lemon-y, and slightly herbal notes. All in all the coherence is absolutely beautiful.

TASTE. The smoke is more upfront in the palate together with sea weed, walnut oil, salt, beach fire smoke, fresh shrimps, citrus fruits and hints of leather. Then some sweetness comes along with  caramelized lime, lemon and orange skin. There is something that reminds me of rum agricole. The peat is both mineral and vegetal and there are notes of citrus and english breakfast tea along with some earthiness with beach sand and sun dried mud. There are many layers that come together.

VERDICT. This is a well balanced Caol Ila with a nice complexity, and the 25 years of wood influence is very much restrained and well integrated with the distilleries spirit. Yes, a higher strength would possibly given it a bit more punch, but on the other hand I like the friendliness and balance it has now. Very much recommended. Look for the reasonably pricing, as these vary greatly, or a nice discount.

Recommended for people that want to experience a proper matured and friendly Islay whisky.

Many thanks to Norbert for the sample!

«What others say»

  • @Whiskybase: Mean score of 88.65 (22 votes)
  • Ruben @whiskynotes: “A very good whisky. Sure, the low alcohol level results in a big softness, but it’s still relatively accessible” Score 88/100
  • Serge @whiskyfun: “The light and elegant side of the famous Islayer” Score: 88/100
  • @Ralfy: “Classic engineered official brand with ‘old’ flavours but rather standard form” Score 88/100
  • @Allthingswhisky: “Should have been left intact, high strength and unfiltered” Score: 88.5/100
  • @Whiskyisrael: “A worthy 25 year old, at a good price (relatively)” Score: 89/100
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