Single Malts of Scotland. This cask cask #317841, was distilled in late September 2009 and aged a little more than a decade in a ex-Bourbon Hogshead before yielding 298 bottles a little more than a decade later. The nose shows a classic Islay mix of nectarine and peach, fresh grain, peat, brine, sea salt, and gentle back-woods smoke. The palate shows its cask strength nature with a great texture and mouthfeel almost too oily with a flavor set of orchard fruits, wood spice, campfire smoke, white chocolate, and a salt/ sea spray note to finish. D&M Tasting Notes
Caol Ila, Gaelic for “the Sound of Islay,” was built in 1846 by Hector Henderson, a Glasgow businessman interested in getting into the distilling business. Henderson’s interest may have been high, but he proved himself not up to the task of running a distillery. By 1854 Norman Buchanan, the owner of the Isle of Jura distillery, took over the business. So there, less than a decade after its origin, was the last time that Caol Ila was not a part of a large whisky consortium. In 1930, after a series of owners, Caol Ila was bought by Scottish Malt Distillers (the company that would become the drinks behemoth Diageo.) When Scottish Malt Distillers took over, they mothballed Caol Ila for a seven year period before bringing it back online. With the grain shortages of WWII, Caol Ila was again closed down from 1941 to 1946. From the post-war period, production continued until 1972 when the entire structure of the distillery was demolished. A larger distillery was built in the same original architectural style on the same site, and production resumed in 1974. At this point production had been vastly increased to its current level at 3.5 million liters a year. Of this amount, around 5 percent is used as a Single Malt, the rest forms the flavor component of several blended whiskies (the unpeated spirit is used for Johnnie Walker.) Because of this ample production, there is a heightened chance for us lovers of the single cask to see independent bottler expressions.
Caol Ila today is known within the tourist trade as the Hidden Jewel of Islay. The distillery is located in a quiet cove near Port Askaig. Many consider this locality on the eastern shore of Islay to be the wildest and most picturesque of the island. Like Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich (it’s two closest neighbors), the construction of Caol Ila created the community that surrounds them. Without these distilleries it is likely that there would have been little human presence in these areas of Islay at all. The distillery is situated on Loch Nam Ban, which has supplied Caol Ila with an abundant supply of excellent water for over a century and a half. Caol Ila is renowned for producing very sophisticated and complex malts. The stills at the distillery are charged to low capacity, allowing more boiled-off alcohol to come in contact with the copper, giving a very pure spirit prior to ageing. It’s whiskies are prized for having the oiliest feel of the Islay malts, with the highest glycerin content that has a way of clinging to the palate. Michael Kennel, D&M
Cask Strength 58.3% ABV Hogshead Distilled: 9.28.2009 bottled 11.1.2019
Caol Ila 10 YR. SMS Bottling Single Malt Scotch
- Availability: In Stock
- Quantity Available: 8
- SKU #: 8698