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"Whisky-Distilleries (blind) Tasting Sessions"

Caol Ila

Français | English


30 years (1980-2010)

Single Cask Series
30 years
Alcohol percentage
57,4 %
Master of Malt
Refill Hogshead
Distil: 1980 Bottling: 2010
154 of
Non chillfiltered cask strength
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links & average quote
WDTS2011-01 86/100

Tasting detail data

Highest rate 91/100
Lowest rate 74/100
Difference 17
Average 85,62


Total number of tasters 21
Excellent 3
Very good 7
Good 4
Medium 3
Bad 1
Caol Ila Master of Malt 30

Nose: Powerful, it is a cask strength. Quite balanced, which makes it surprisingly complex. Green tea, spices, honey, fresh herbs, mineral, mediterranean cuisine. The whole consistent and intertwined. It is superb. No unpleasant emanation, one would remain for hours in the glass to nose it further, but the desire to bring in the mouth is too strong.

Taste: The alcohol is present. Herbs and cut grass as well. All accompanied by peppery spices? It stays fresh on the vegetal, the tea comes later. This is not a whisky for the ladies, a few drops of water adds a bit of ash on the nose reflecting a presence of peat. The vegetal side is more discreet, the sugar is almost like red fruits from a sherry cask. These few drops are good for him, making it creamier and sweeter.

Final: On the spices, fresh thyme. Rather long and certainly very good. Big favorite.

On the nose, a marine peat (seaweed) is combined with a discreet smoke. We also detected a mineral influence (wet stone) and notes of hay and wet straw. There is also a nice fruitiness, not exuberant, on white fruits and citrus (solutricine?). Beautiful nose, elegant, complex and not “too much”.
The palate is velvety with a pleasant acid /sweet attack, reminding the nose (oily smoke / seaweed) and then turns on salt, a fruity touch and something grassy and mineral rather difficult to describe, but which is very nice. Nice bitterness in finish (charcoal?).
The final is long, complex with a salty notes.
Undoubtedly the most interesting whisky in this session for me, the most complex, most powerful. I bet on an IB, cask strength, average 15-25yo, from a distillery not necessarily popular. 90-91 pts.

Nose: Powerful and some kind of woody dryness. Burnt rubber and coal. This one spent time in the cask, or the latter was seriously recharred. Let's give it some time to open-up. Mhhhh… It's much better now. Dried fruit peels (hazelnuts). The wood gets older. Smells like in my cellar. My nose is on the cork of an old bottle. Let's wait a little more… The beast gets more citrusy and aromatic. Orange butterscotch. Boiled sweet. And even hints of green tomatoes. That's strange: The more you wait, the younger it gets… Let's try with a drop of water. Oh! That works well! Now I have some smoked ham too. And the orange turns to lemon.
Mouth: Bold, fruity and spicy, it's a full blast attack on dried orange peels. The charred wood is still there, but arrives later. That's more to my liking! Creamy feeling of a hazelnut liqueur. Very nice balance between the wood's harshness and the fruit's voluptuousness. Or rather a very nice unbalance, as our senses are torn between both worlds. And an example alcohol integration for a whisky that probably reaches 57% or 58%. The alcohol perfectly holds up the aromas of a never boring mouth. With a drop of water, the sooty notes turn to be more citrusy, ala Caol Ila.
Finish : Long, fruity, sustained by the pungency of the charcoal.
Comment: A great multifaceted and ever evolving malt. At the same time pungent, creamy, fruity, and sooty, it deserves all of your attention. So book your agenda for an evening when you have time!

Nose: Wow! Fun, attractive, unusual and intriguing. Evoking deliciously fruity candies, licorice, floral potpourri, and especially the original notes of vegetables (tomato, pumpkin, peppers, eggplant ?...), cooked dishes in sauce, herbs and spices (chervil, paprika .. .).
But in the kitchen of which leader is it does so ??...

Taste: Re-Wow! It is also really special to the height of the bunch if not more. Strange and fascinating blend of flavors, very ripe juicy fruit, citrus crystallized notes vegetables cooked with a southern accent sometimes and sometimes exotic herbs and spices including a mid-palate that builds up spicy (pepper / paprika, curry, ginger), the limit of excess, but falls over seconds to stabilize at a superb balance.
A whisky that gives a frank desire to eat, probably old enough, which stands out for its originality, its rise to power and its overall balance, complexity, length ... BRAVO!

The nose opens with fresh sensations, with medicinal ferrous and cold ashes hints. Not unitary or disturbing, however. Then light hints of wood and nuts (walnuts) bring the nose to warmer flavors towards heady flowers and citrus (lemon), concludes this very complex trip. The alcohol rate allows all these flavors to be nicely blended, and offers a good balance and fair power to this actually quite unorthodox nose. By adding water, smoked ashes and strawberry will dominate the whole.

The palate is syrupy, sweet, with hints of malted barley. In a atmosphere strong enough, the mouth then develops with smoked bacon and grilled aromas. Very well balanced, aerating allows very discreet notes of bitter chocolate to emerge.

The finish is long and grandiose. A cascade literally fall on much more nautical flavours than the mouth led to mean: peat option navy, fresh grass, all on a background very farmer and wet. Drying, it leaves a very pleasant salty memory. Water brings more sweetness and a nice tip of lemon.

In conclusion, a rather unconventional whisky, which leads to a full visit of flavors, all with remarkable power and subtlety.

Gold color
Fine and delicate nose. Fruity smell (exotic fruit) of chewing gum with strawberry. I think I detected a note of ash. But without much conviction. Some peanut notes. On aeration, a note of cereal.
Mouth is hot and bubbly, quite gently. A taste of coconut beads (dessert Cambodian). Some fruitiness always very present.
Final continuity pungent. Very discreet bitterness in the background. More exotic fruits. Lacks a little length.


Nose: peaty and medicinal with some iodine, salt and seaweed. A few fruits and citrus in the background. Peat is translucent with aeration as it was powerful in the beginning.
After some breathing appear notes of varnish, vanilla, white fruits and exotic. It also softens.

Taste: Explosion of ripe fruit and alcohol within the limits of endurance (calms down considerably with aeration). Dried fruits are mingled with a little lemon. The water brings out the citrus.

Final: First peaty she quickly replaced with fruit. It is salty, iodine and lemon with citrus. A little short. The addition of water enhances the flavor but destroys the balance of flavors and dries. After a long aeration, the final is very long and citrus.

This whiskey is better without adding water and a long breathing. Aeration reveals, I think. My notes going from 84pts to 90pt. (I put the final note at 89pts)

Color: Gold

Nose: Fresh, expressive and very pleasant at first. Juicy pear, vanilla sugar, a little licorice. Then all evolving towards a profile more maritime, sea spray and sea salt, without departing from its original softness. It is also very subtle peaty. Some animal notes make their appearance during the second tasting.

Taste: Powerful and fat from the attack, plenty salty, it plays on spices (white pepper) and licorice, letting a hint of fruit and bitter orange peel. It warms the palate but alcohol is well integrated. Maybe a hint of peat? The second tasting confirmed the presence of a hint of peat.

Finish: Quite long, it extends the fruity / bitter and salty mouth.

Conclusion: A very good malt, well made​​, balanced and expressive. Not the whiskey of the year but certainly an excellent dram. It makes me think of some peated Benriach Single Malt Of Scotland. From my point of view, by far outperforms the other malts selection.

Color: Gold
A nose of great complexity, combining scents of ripe fruit, some bitter notes of dried fruit, a hint of smoke, perhaps a touch of honey and spices. The nose is extremely promising, anyway.
The palate is very complex. After an attack on the fruit, with an explosion of fruity acidity, a very slight woody bitterness it continues to evolve on fruity. The palate is very fresh despite an obvious presence of alcohol
The finish is relatively long. Unlike the mouth, which was characterized by a great freshness, this finish is warm while keeping the same dominant aromas.
An excellent bottle full of surprises.

Nose: Light Peaty. Agrumic
Mouth: Strong Attack on lemon. Tickling. Aromatic grass (thymus) Iodic. Nice expression of peat without any aggressivity.
Final: Short despite of persistent peat. Salty

Color: straw yellow
Nose: Quite original, sour and bitter on the lemon zest, Pulco, vanilla, sweet notes and a few light smoke in the background.
Taste: Again it is acidic and bitter Pulco, sugar and ginger.
The palate then evolves on a discrete peat farm.
Long finish, acid and spicy.
A weird whisky.


Old gold, amber.
Sweet nose, thin, rather rich. Very ripe fruit. Spices. Hint of sherry (coffee). A little smoke.
Sweet, tasty, fruity. Slightly sweet. Evolves on the smoke. Woody notes.
Rather long final, not very intense, on smokey notes. Slight woody.


Nose: very weird, unattractive, so far seems very complex but closed. Opens slowly and becomes much more sympathetic. Salty. Freshwater fish (despite the salt!).
Mouth: a little hot, very draining. Light peat (or just smoke), some fruit (apple), cereal / beer.
Final: final average, slightly bitter, pepper, more ocean.

Receding side which both seduces (for makes you want to capture it) and even discourages disconcerting as the nose and mouth. A may need lots and lots of ventilation (more than an hour in the glass and / or in the bottle)? One feels a complexity and aromatic range is interesting but remains very disturbed by this side elusive.


Colour: Old gold.
Nose: nose first on Indian spices and sherry vinegar. Moving very fast on the fruit vinegar with a little solvent, turpentine. Hints of white chocolate. Gin, possibly ginger tiny keys. The remaining vinegar acid notes throughout. A bit of white bread, tiny touches of almond powder, a few hints for muscle pain ointment (Actygo Voltaren) or burns (Biaffine). Coffee with milk aeration. A little vinyl adhesive. Finally, gravy or viandox, very slightly.
The water has no influence on the nose.
Mouth: sweet but very quickly pecking. Smooth. Alcohol is present but not excessively. The notes are pretty close to the nose. Evokes Indian spices, and potpourri.
Adding water erodes the presence of alcohol, and reveals the expressive advantage of the mouth, with notes of honey and enough pleasant red fruit.
Finale: Short and in the extension of the mouth.
Like the mouth, the water develops the final.

Comment: A strange whisky with uncommon notes, elusive, and not easy to enjoy. Seems a bit unbalanced, disharmony and melted, but fails to show youth. Adding water is advised. This whisky a powerful but difficult to master.

Medium gold color
Nose: Fine peat with a nice freshness.

Taste: A powerful whisky with a sharp attack, on the alcohol. It opens on exotic fruits, including fresh coconut. It is softening while it develops.

Finish: The finish is dry and spicy and ends with notes of apricot.

N: bitter orange liqueur, artichoke, chard cooked meat, cinnamon, potato juice.
M: Marine Note, cinnamon, light peat
F: tarragon, sage, meat

The first nose is clearly peaty but peat is nto too oppressive, wood, fruit against a background of strong Mediterranean character: eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender. The fruitiness develops gradually with the sugar of the peat that gums out the bumps. But it also gives a slight fruity character nice and fresh acid. Rare notes of fresh tobacco.
In the mouth the first impression is dry, rough, raspy and immediately hand over clear notes of toffee and a strong alcohol. A nice bitterness of coffee? no instead of cocoa gives a very nice bitterness that the caramel has, thankfully, difficult to cover. With a drop of water, a plumf based fruitiness (mirabelle, quetsch) develops.
The finish is first alcohol and then back on the citrus, eucalyptus woodland with astringency and peat.
A beautiful nose portends a great tasting but that leaves to the dogs. And fortunately a nice bitterness to offset the peat.


Colour : gold

Nose : at first, seems to be a great dram. We start with hints of tart apple and lemon then we have a nice smoke. We then follow with hints of milk chocolate and grilled almonds and nuts. Nice finess, very fresh and lemony.
With water, becomes a bit rounder and sweeter (a bit of a perfume).

Mouth : a little behind compared with the nose but still interesting. Nougatine, lemon and smoke. A certain sharpness, with hints of white dry wine. Light oaky bitterness at the end.

Final : pretty long on the lemon sharpness. Bitterness but not too strong.

A nice dram, showing complexity but a bit too oaky for me.

Nose: Soft, fruity (apple, yellow fruits), honey, heather, sea air? Vanilla, lemon, acid drops. Nice. Hint of peat?
Mouth: Starts soft, then a bitter explosion, bitter, vegetal. Hard. Lemon.
The final is harsh too, vegetal, then, sea air, peat?, bitter.
The nose was promissing, but not the rest.

Nose: grapefruit, light acidity and just smoke (discrete) and alcohol.
Taste: on alcohol, pepper and tar. Too medicinal for my taste!
Final: still on alcohol and tobacco


Appearance: light yellow
Nose: low intensity, alcohol fairly well integrated, veil of smoke, malty sweetness, red fruits
Taste: moderate intensity, chili, smoky, dry
Finish: short to medium
Conclusion: Basic whisky, the chili catch gives a distinctive personality. Personally I do not like this flavor in whisky, others will love it
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