Caol Ila 17 Year (2015 Special Release)

Single Malt

Caol Ila // Islay, Scotland

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  1. LCPfraTN

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
  2. jcjones

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    Beautifully warming Delicate nose Not overly peaty or smoky, but smooth
  3. allmax

    Tasted
    3.0
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Xiamen Library
  4. ludvigt

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
  5. ScotchingHard

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    33 open bottles in my collection ranked through multiple blind tastings. Counting them down! #4: Caol Ila Unpeated Style. Single Malt Scotch. 55.9% ABV. 17 years. B2015 Paid $173 If I buy this again, it will have to cheaper. This bottle can be found for $130-150. More likely, I will try another edition of the Caol Ila Unpeated Style (this is a yearly Diageo special release). 8 months ago, I opened this bottle and didn’t like it. It tasted like dust, limestone, and stingy tonic water. I think I described it as backbone without a soul. I used a fair amount in mixing experiments afterwards, before giving it another chance. It got better. A lot better. So much better that this is the first of four 5-star whiskies that highlight the end of this countdown. The buttery, lemon pie notes took a while to emerge, but they now punctuate an exquisite nose. When I had a freshly opened bottle, there was no fruitiness except for citrus to speak of. Now, as I kill off this bottle, there is a fruit basket! Apples, apricots, lemons, limes, plums. All is balanced very nicely with a rich vanilla, baking spices, and brine. The finish feels carbonated. I still get some tonic water. I also get hints of peat, despite this being “unpeated.” An apple flavor lingers, like hard cider. Add some water to make it less tonic-y and sweeter. I should’ve known better than to rush to judgement with Caol Ila Unpeated. This expression gets released every year by Diageo, and they wouldn’t do this year after year after year if it wasn’t a hit (just look at the $900 NAS Clynelish from a few years back for an example of a special release fail that they stopped making). Still, Lagavulin 12 is the special release that is slightly cheaper. 8 months ago, I would’ve told you the Laga is a million times better. Today, I tell you, it is only slightly better. MARK: 93/100 PREVIOUSLY, ON BATMAN: #5: Paul John Peated Select Cask. $84. 55.5% ABV. NAS. 92/100. #6: Redbreast. $96. 43% ABV. 15 years old. 92/100. #7: Yamazaki. $74. 43% ABV. 12 years old. 92/100. #8: Lagavulin. $70. 43% ABV. 16 years old. 91/100. #9: Benromach. $65. 43%. 16 years. 91/100. #10: Talisker Distiller’s Edition. $72. 45.8%. D2000/B2011. 91/100.
  6. David-Rogina

    Tasted
    3.0
    3.0 out of 5 stars
  7. odysseusunbound

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
  8. LeeEvolved

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Here’s another review from the pre-Whiskyfest, hotel room bottle share: the Caol Ila 17yo Unpeated special release. This style of whisky is distilled by them a couple weeks out of every year to show off their malt’s flavor without using peat. I had a bottle of the 15yo Unpeated a few years ago and I wasn’t really a big fan, so I wasn’t expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised this time, though. This is bottled at or near cask strength at 55.9%. It’s yellow gold and forms quick, long legs in the tasting glass. I don’t believe there’s color added nor is it chill filtered, but I don’t have the bottle in front of me to verify that. On the nose, plenty of lemon zest and oak, with some salty and grassy notes mingling throughout. There’s some subtle citrus notes of orange playing in the background as well. It smells light and airy provided you don’t get too far down in the glass and pick up the heat from the ABV. The palate brings out spicier notes of ginger, pepper and oak, but also some lighter notes like olives. The mouthfeel is oily and somewhat thick. It leaves the peppery notes clinging to the tongue and turns the finish dry really quickly. Between that and the high ABV it feels exceedingly hot and even drier than it actually is and for that I have to deduct some points. This one could probably use some water to tame it, but that’s not my style. Perhaps Caol Ila should’ve blended this one down to 48% and I could’ve enjoyed it more, too. Thanks to @Telex for letting me bring a pour of this home so I could evaluate it on its own, instead of having to rate it up against the big boy bottles we split in the hotel. It didn’t stand much of a chance there, but on its own I kind of enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I still think Caol Ila’s peated lines are where it’s at, but this one wasn’t half bad. 3.75 stars, rounded down to 3.5 because these bottles are rather pricy. Cheers.
  9. Generously_Paul

    Tasted
    3.0
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    This was one of the whiskies provides by @Telex for our hotel room tasting session the night before Whiskyfest. Once a year (for a week or two) Caol Ila switches production from their normal peated style to produce a small amount of unpeated whisky. This 17 year old is one of the results of their experimenting. Bottled at cask strength of 55.9% ABV and I’m willing to bet it’s non chill filtered. It’s Diageo so I can’t exactly say if there is colorant or not but the color is a yellow gold. The nose starts with lemons and lemongrass, not unlike the regular Caol Ila minus the peat, plus oak, salt/brine and green olives. Some sweetness comes through with honey, pineapple, grapes, berries, blackberry jam, oranges and apricots. It’s slightly herbal and earthy with a little chalky note. Some brown sugar rounds it out. Water brings out more of the oranges and apricots. Too much water brings more of the olive brine, which for me is a bad thing. A strong and powerful palate. Hot. Heavy on the olives and lemons. Some ginger, oak, apricots and dried pineapple. Water tones down the heat, but doesn’t help the flavor at all, just more of the olives. Medium to full bodied, hot and mouthwatering. The finish is medium long, vegetal, olives and oak. Well, it’s not quite bad but not quite good either. Pretty much a hot mess. Caol Ila should stick to peated, or if they are going to continue with this unpeated style they should change up the cask type and throw some sherry at it. It might add some much needed sweetness and fruitiness. The vegetal/olive notes were the downfall here, otherwise it would have been serviceable. Also, at $145 it’s not a great value for a 17 year old. 3.5 and I think that’s a fair mark. Cheers
  10. IanCameron

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
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