Caol Ila 12 year old Islay Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
**Best Buy** A seductive brininess and waves of oily peat-reek greet the olfactory sense. The palate entry finds a surprisingly buttery-creamy leaning along with the peat-reek; at midpalate the flavor becomes concentrated, oily, malty sweet, and only moderately peaty. Ends on a sweet malty note. Builds from stage to stage, each phase being better than the last.
Funny to think how recently Caol Ila was an Islay giant that was kept pretty much under wraps by its owner. These days it has cemented its reputation as the island’s Mr. Consistent. This version shows its character the best, a nose that mixes seashore and grass with a distinct hint of smoked bacon. The peatiness isn’t dominant, but flows throughout the palate, scenting, lifting, and subtly changing the mix. A delicious oiliness makes it a great food whisky. (Vol. 21, #2)
A very balanced Islay, with a flowery sweetness on the nose that gives as good as it gets against the insistent peat and salt. The peat increases on the palate, but once again the whisky counters with honey and bread dough to maintain equilibrium. Then come sweet spices that get more vibrant on the finish as they're joined by smoked salmon. Blend drinkers should note that this is where Johnnie Walker gets much of its peat.