The island of Islay (pronounced eye-la) lies in the southern Inner Hebridean isles of Scotland and boasts 8 producing single malt distilleries: (Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Kilchoman) and one closed (Port Ellen). Islay is home to some of the most famous distilleries in Scotland, and while the majority produce a heavily peated and pungently smoky whisky, there are excellent un-peated styles made here too.
The distinctive smoky aroma and flavour is imparted by the drying of barley over smouldering peat fires, with this character diminishing and softening with time in the cask. Islay whiskies are connected strongly to where they are made, and a visit to the island is among one of the best whisky experiences available in the world.
The Whiskies of Islay — Caol Ila
Caol Ila 12 years old 43% 750ml
From the northern edge of Islay, the Caol Ila distillery is known for a slightly more refined smoke character, with citrus fruit and and a gentle sweetness that mingles with the peat. Sophisticated and lingering, a great introduction to some of the smokier whiskies from the Island.
Caol Ila 'Single Malts of Scotland' 2011 / 9 years old 59.5%
Selected by the team at Elixir distillers from a single cask filled at the Caol Ila distillery in 2011, this new release shows the powerful and punch side of this malt. A briney and striking kick of salt & vinegar chips and cocoa powder leads the nose, with a rich smoky and ashy flavour throughout. There is a lingering sweetness and contrast...