Oct 232012

Caol Ila 10 y.o. Unpeated

65.8% abv

Score:  87.5/100


Check the label.  What the hell am I drinking?  Caol Ila?  Malt whisky?  Nah…I don’t buy it.

This is simply a mindf*ck.  I dare anyone to stick their nose in this glass and not believe they were dealing with an aged grain whisky.

For curiousity, if no other reason, I’d suggest snapping one of these up if opportunity presents.  Last word from the distillery is that there are no plans to produce anything else unpeated in the future.  Demand for the standard peated Caol Ila (5% of production being for single malt…95% for blending fodder) is simply too great right now.  Shame really…this was a fun little experiment.

Nose:  Big and rich in sweet barley notes, this has much more in common with an old grain whisky or mature rye than with a whisky from one of the most polarizing Scotch producing regions in the world.  The malt notes you’d expect from a single MALT are sparse and almost seem to be lacking.  In good conscience I have to say…bloody hell, is this sharp!  Clean toasted sugar notes and a lovely coconut aroma up front (hmmm…ever had a Malibu and pineapple juice?).  Smooth chocolate.  A bit of lemon, very typical of Caol Ila.  Lightly floral and a fair infusion of menthol/eucalyptus.

Hot and biting on delivery.  Lemon sharp and anesthetizing (nearly lobotomizing, to be honest!).  Shimmering grains and sweet vanilla pulled young and lively from the oak.  Finishes surpringly rich in balance, and absolutely altogether pleasant.

Did I love it?  Nah.  Did I appreciate it?  Hell yes.  Surprising and enamoring.  And I gotta ask…have you ever bought an abv this high?!  Gawdamn, but this is ENORMOUS!


Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Pat

 Posted by at 10:09 pm

  14 Responses to “Caol Ila 10 y.o. Unpeated Review”

  1. Yes, I have bought an ABV that high…. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 12 YO 70.1%.

    I just bought and opened a bottle of the 17 YO CS Caol Ila unpeated, and given your comments I wonder if it is a product of the same still run, if they only did it once. Still too soon to pass judgement but certainly interesting. It would be great if you could compare the 2…

  2. He’s probably still getting cheques in the mail from Crown Royal.

    Wasn’t that $600 Cragganmore NAS one of the Diageo special releases last year?

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