Caol Ila 22 Years Old (Feis Ile 2019)
Most of the Caol Ila releases for Feis Ile from the last few years were relatively young (from what I remember). This year’s edition is an exception though. Bottled at 22 years of age, and sold for 130 pounds, it was undoubtedly one of the more attractive releases on the island.
And I say that before I tasted it. By the way, this is from sherry-treated freshly-charred American oak hogsheads.
Caol Ila 22 Years Old (58.4%, OB, Feis Ile 2019)
Nose: Soft minerals with a subtle sherry influence, mature wood smoke, and cured meat. Hints of seaweed, a whiff of strawberry, some smoked paprika, a bit of burlap. Slightly minty and herbal, but also enough room for plums. Annoyingly complex.
Taste: Incredibly elegant, even at this high strength. A sweet and rich fruitiness, and pleasantly oily. Hints of smoked bacon, maple syrup and wood smoke, but also leather, tar and iodine, and salted to perfection. Just a tad of cracked black peppercorns.
Finish: Lingering spices, yet subtle.
I can’t remember having had a Caol Ila of this age with such incredible complexity. Endlessly pleasing. I didn’t attend Feis Ile, but the chance of getting my hands on this bottling alone would’ve made it worthwhile. If anyone can help me get one, don’t hesitate to reach out.
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.