LeeEvolved

Caol Ila 25 Year

Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

Tasted
4.25
4.25 out of 5 stars
I recently found bottles of this online out of the U.K. for around $110, so I went ahead and stocked up because that’s a fine price for such a well-aged whisky. The only drawbacks I discovered initially were the fact that Diageo blends these down to 43% and they have added color to make each successive vintage as uniform as possible, color wise. I believe they may also be chill-filtered- which begs the question: why Diageo? Why? I recently opened a bottle of the 18 year, peated Caol Ila from 2008 and was utterly blown away. The fact I had multiple bottles of the 25 really piqued my interest and I was dying to know if an additional 7 years in the cask just dialed things up to 11. Spoiler: it did not. Onward, though, this quarter century Caol Ila is a beautiful, deep gold in the taster and appears oily, with thin legs and medium, teardrops on the rim. This bottle was filled in 2007 at the aforementioned 43% ABV. The nose was typical Caol: bbq smoke and sea spray. Light tar and fruity chewing gum notes waft gently from the glass as you spin and get down in there. Some apricot and citrus were coerced out after a lengthy wait. Very nice. The palate was again meaty smoke and salty, biting undertones. This leaves the fruity notes of the 18 year old completely out of the mix. It’s still oily and thick, even with the added water dilution, and theres very little barrel characteristics or vanilla sweetness. It’s mostly soft and forgiving for a Caol Ila- evidence of the time in the oak. These were probably refilled casks, I’m assuming. The finish is medium to long, oily and smoky. The salt cuts into the tongue and throat as it dries away and I can’t help but think it needs a healthy ABV kick. The final wafts of smoke return as though you’ve extinguished a campfire and just stood overtop of it and inhaled the final fumes deeply. It’s still quite satisfying. Overall, it’s not the 18 year I just fell in love with, but it is still a fine example of a well-matured Islay whisky. If you like your peated whisky with a seaside kick to go along with an impressive age statement- this is your whisky. If you can find it for $111 like I did, well that’s like hitting the bonus on a Vegas slot machine. You win twice. 4.25 stars with a bonus .25 for price and relative availability/attainability. Cheers, my friends.
111.0 USD per Bottle
  • Rick_M

    @LeeEvolved - that price is crazy!

  • LeeEvolved

    @PBMichiganWolverine - yeah, I just looked up the code on my CI:DE and the label states bottled in 2016 and the code starts L6...., my 18 started L8 but for some reason I think I bought that bottle BEFORE 2018. So, I am confused a bit. I wish there was a website that better explains bottling codes or better yet allows you to put a code in to reveal the proper info. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  • Scott_E

    @LeeEvolved Great review as always. You should create your own show ‘Scotch Pickers’ searching website to website locating gems. I may need you to be a proxy finding me bargains.

  • PBMichiganWolverine

    @Soba45 @LeeEvolved i’ll Open up mine, which is 2004 bottling. Will be interesting to compare. (Will be a while...haven’t had any drams in 2 weeks ...)

  • Soba45

    @PBMichiganWolverine 2008 so quite an old bottling vs my sample which I suspect was a decade later

  • PBMichiganWolverine

    @LeeEvolved maybe it’s just the older vintages? Yours was bottled a few years ago, 2016?

  • LeeEvolved

    @Soba45 @PBMichiganWolverine - I’m starting to believe that the 18 that I opened was probably just a one-off, amazing batch because I don’t have any other Caol Ila ranked anywhere near what that 18 was. Hopefully, I caught lightening in a bottle(s) with the others I bought, but I guess I should temper expectations.

  • Soba45

    @PBMichiganWolverine I had a slightly different experience with the 18. Great dram but not mindblowing. The 25 was probably there abouts but perhaps just not a step up.. and when you factor in price...

  • PBMichiganWolverine

    @Soba45 @LeeEvolved the 18 was amazing. From reviews here, seems like the 30 is really good as well. Wondering why a dip in 25? One would think it would be incrementally better

  • Soba45

    Good review. I agree I think despite my scoring I remember the 18 more fondly I think.