Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength

Peated Single Malt

Caol Ila // Islay, Scotland

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  1. LeeEvolved

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    As I venture into the 5-6th year of my scotch whisky drinking/collecting hobby, I find myself reaching for more examples of extreme scotch single malts and blends. It’s almost like I need everything dialed up to 11 before it really gets my blood flowing on most days: Cask strength Macallans, Ardbegs, Laphroiags, etc are the order of the day now. So, when I saw these NAS Natural Cask Strength Caol Ila bottles at auction, I quickly scanned my google spreadsheet to see if I’d had the peated version of the full strength Caol Ila’s. I know I’ve had several of the limited release, unpeated versions and they run the gamut from mediocre to very solid. But, Caol Ila is always about salty peat and citrus (much like a good Talisker). I needed to try these. So, I ended up spending $108/ea for a pair of Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength bottles from 2015. Yeah, I overpaid a bit, but I felt like I needed this in my arsenal. These particular batch releases came in at a robust, 59.3% and I won them in the spring over at Scotch Whisky Auctions (out of Glasgow). They are pale yellow in color (with no added color or chill filtration) and produce some translucent, fast-running, thick legs and leave behind lots of tiny drops behind on the rim of your cleanest Glencairn. The nose is a powerhouse blast of sea spray, pepper spice and alcohol ABV. At first I assumed they filled 2/3 of each bottle with whisky directly from the still and the rest with ocean water from right off the coast. This is the most maritime nose I think I’ve ever experienced in any dram. Mineral-infused peat floats around the bowl of the glass, disappearing and reappearing as if on a timer. Time doesn’t dilute it, either- it simply fills whatever venue you’re drinking at with notes of coastal Scotland. That added time, however, did make the palate more, uh..., palatable. I went in quickly after a pour only to feel like I swallowed straight seawater. It was like when you’re a kid at the beach and you ride your inflatable raft into a breaking wave and inadvertently take in a mouthful of sea foam and immediately begin to choke and dry heave. I literally had to catch my breath after that first sip. Overbearing salt and heat. Fast forward to 15-20 minutes of recovery...once the dram relaxes and “cools” a bit you are rewarded with a Clynelish-like waxiness and some light, citrus fruits and berries. It still felt insanely dry and hot, with salt and mineral, earthy peat lingering on the back of the tongue and recesses of your mouth. The finish remains hot, biting and dry. It’s more astringent than I hoped, but it did allow more of the peat to finally take center stage (it’s a late, third act in this dram- but it is here in all its glory). The only thing finally left behind is more salt. I actually felt parched after doing back to back, multiple pours from this bottle- it leaves you thirsty haha. I did need a healthy, Glendronach to finish off my session and the next morning I still had salty, Glendronach on my tongue. Overall, this isn’t my favorite Caol Ila, but damn it still put a smile on my face thinking back about it as I write this review. This would be my poster child for Scotch Whisky Turned Up To 11. I can see the fishermen on Islay drinking this straight from the bottle on their way back to port after a long day at sea. Something tells me this is their dram. 4 stars and a big, ole smile for this one. If you see this bottle collecting dust and think you’ve already had the saltiest, sea-worthy scotch you’ll ever try...well, prepare to be corrected. Cheers, my friends.
    108.0 USD per Bottle
  2. Gavin-von-Holdt

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Smoky, heavy
  3. technojim

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Salty. Smokey. Subtle.
  4. rdknfd

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
  5. RandyStewart

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
  6. James-Cook

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The samaroli wild and primitive 1998 expression isn’t listed here so this is my notes for that. Citrus and salt and caramel vanilla with the cask strength burn. Fair bit of peat on the nose and tongue and finish is woody and orange peel. Add some more peat to round out the profile.
  7. Tommmo

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Splendid, great aroma. Needed water, but remains intact upon addition
  8. Philippe

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
  9. whiskey_explorer

    Tasted
    2.0
    2.0 out of 5 stars
  10. Demondad

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
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