Caol Ila: Distillers Edition (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: No Age Statement: 43% ABV)

Visual: Rich yellowed gold.

Viscosity: Lots of fast but thin streaks.

Nose: Smoke. Red grapes. Raisins and spice. Mulled wine. Dry beef slices. Water adds custard sweetness and orange rind. Peat touches as well.

Body: Muscat grapes. Rich mulled spices. Raisin and plums pudding. Cinnamon sticks. Water opens up to beef broth. More water adds white wine and white grapes unexpectedly.

Finish: Dry. Rum soaked red grapes. Cloves. Chives. Raisins and slight salt.

Conclusion:  Whew. Spiced and warming this is the mulled wine of whisky. This intensely spicy fruity grape filled Caol Ila is an assault on the senses.

The Islay peat and salt style, while present was never the main point of the Caol Ila, and here it has to fight against the massive spice influence. The fruit and spice wins the foreground leaving the beef and island character rolling around underneath.

The finish is mouth puckering in spicyness, its flavour roams wonderfully through Muscat grapes and peat punch.  The struggle between the two sides is well done. The fruit wins in most cases but the closeness of the battle gives your tastebuds a war of flavour to enjoy.

This is just off being one of my favourites but it is a close run thing.  For me the spiciness can get a bit overpowering occasionally, but that really is a matter of personal preference on a great whisky. Another huge point in its favour is the great range or response it had to water, you have a lot of play in it to open up and try different elements within.

This is a great booming whisky that reminds me of Sassica finish Benrmoach in the spice levels.  This however holds up a lot better for the base whisky holding it’s own. Really good and well worth trying

Background; Drunk at the Rummer Hotel at the same time as the Littlemill reviewed earlier. Islay, and Caol Ila are two great loves of mine in the whisky world. Despite that I have never tried that bog standard ten year Caol Ila bottling. That didn’t stop me being highly excited when I saw that the hotel had the range of distillers editions of various whiskies, including this one which has been aged in Moscatel Barrels.