Caol Ila is one of the lessor known Islay Scotches and while bottlings have been available it is mostly used in blends from Johnnie Walker, Bells and Black Bottle to name a few. The distillery was totally rebuilt in 1974 tripling it's output and serving as the example for the Clynelish distillery in Brora which is an exact replica of Caol Ila.
The nosing of this dram tells you that this is a great whisky. Peat, smoke, salt, and a bit of fruit rise up to great you tempting your taste buds with flavors to come. Tasting confirms that this is an Islay malt of the first order. Oily peat mixes with a subtle malt and even some chocolate as a base while spices float on the top. The finish is long peaty and spicy.
If you are a fan of Islay scotches and can't get enough peat in your scotch diet then there should be a bottle of Caol Ila on your shelf already, if not, get one!
While I don't own the following, I have had it and it is the top of the heap for Caol Ila as far as I'm concerned. If you can find the 25yo Cask Strength (118.8 proof) that is as far as you ever have to look for an Islay. About $190.
Edited by AVB, 04 May 2007 - 10:10 PM.