Caol Ila 12 Year Old (Feis Ile 2016)
Feis Ile-bottlings, whether from Bruichladdich, Lagavulin or Caol Ila, as is the case for this blog post, always feel a bit special. Probably because they are limited releases and you can only get them if you actually travel to Islay (or are willing to pay a lot on the secondary market).
Caol Ila released a 12 year old for this years Feis Ile. It has matured in ex-bodega sherry butts and refill American oak hogsheads. This bottling is limited to 1500 bottles.
Caol Ila 12yo Feis Ile 2016 (56,2%, OB)
Nose: An immediate campfire/wood smoke/bbq-esque quality. Smoked ham, salty bacon. A pinch of cracked pepper and tar. A fair amount of brine too, with some subtle iodine, accompanied by honey.
Taste: Quite the attack on the taste buds. Big flavours. Nice oily texture. Lots of peat. Quite a lot of tar too. Smoked salmon, chili peppers. With water more cappuccino and some fennel. Fairly citric now too.
Finish: Long, slightly dry with some barley sugar, peat and lime.
Absolutely loved the nose, the palate was a bit too rough for my liking. Nonetheless this is a wonderful whisky, confirming why I absolutely adore Caol Ila.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.