Caol Ila, 12 year old, 43%

Price: $50.00 Issue: Winter 2004 Reviewer: John Hansell

Like the Clynelish 14 year old also reviewed in this issue, it is nice to see Diageo finally introduce official distillery bottlings of Caol Ila here in the U.S. (after being available in the UK for many years now). My suitcases were getting quite heaving on my return trips from Scotland. This is a splendid Coal Ila. It is wonderfully vibrant. Understandably, the immediate impact on the palate is the peat smoke, but there's so much else going on here, too: smoked olives, seaweed, salt and pepper, all placed on a gently sweet bed of toffee and vanilla fudge. Lingering smoke, olives, and seaweed on the finish.