Review: Caol Ila Unpeated 14 Years Old Limited Edition 2012
Finally they’re here, and first up we look at this unique Caol Ila, an unpeated malt from an Islay distillery that’s synonymous with peat. Lots of firsts here: This is the first sherried Caol Ila in this series of malts, aged not in ex-Bourbon barrels but rather European oak casks and the only unpeated Caol Ila released at 14 years old.
Crafted in a “Highland style,” you’d be forgiven for assuming this was Highland Park instead of Caol Ila. The nose features honey, heather, and a dash of smokiness. Hardly a super-sherried dram, it really just hints at orange oil. At nearly 120 proof, it’s frankly too racy to enjoy on its own, but water is a big help in bringing out this whisky’s joys. Don’t be shy: What arises from the depths is more of those field flavors, beehives, and hints of smokestacks. Ultimately it’s a rich whisky but not overwhelming in its complexity, a surprising look at the versatility of Islay.
B+ / $103 / malts.com