Head-to-head is the name of the game, two Caol Ila reached my desk and need to be reviewed (honestly not a task to complain about), so here they come without further ado.
Caol Ila 14 y.o. Scotch Malt Whisky Society, distilled 3.1997, SMWS 53.152, Refill Hogshead, 291 btl., 57,7%
Comment: This is a toffee and vanilla bomb at first, but then it develops into a classic Caol Ila of the good kind. Nice herbal edge, even with mint and camomile, we also have olive oil, juniper, lemon chicken, coal, tar and pine resin. Very drinkable at 57,7 % but even better with a drop of water. Sooty and spicy, very long finish! Simply classic.
Caol Ila 1987 – 2012 Whisky-Fässle, Bourbon Hogshead, 51,5%
Comment: Aromatic smoke! I am getting lemon zest, lots of herbs (from Provence), camomile, pine, altogether somewhat unusual for this distillery as it is more on spiciness (white pepper) than on peat (it is still peaty though). If I had a cold I would inhale this one to clear my sinuses. In the background we have the more typical notes. It also seems antiseptic now with a little bit of vanilla, tar, pine needle, juniper and green olives. Without water it tastes very hot and spicy, so let’s add some drops. Yep, here come more balance and way more aromas, just like in the nose. Medium length in the finish.