Time to continue the FE 2014 tasting notes with the 2nd bottling for the Festival by Diageo. This expression is essentially a 12 year old at Cask strength, personally selected by David Wood, Caol Ila Distillery Manager. It was distilled in 2002 and has been matured in Refill American Oak Hogsheads. It has been bottled at 55.5% ABV in an edition of 1,500 bottles. I did not manage to taste last year’s CI, but I did hear it was quite good.Let’s take this baby for as spin as they say…
Nose:Quite classic Caol Ila here. Starting with creosote, seaweed and seaside (salty) notes, lemon drops , peat and ash. Vanilla topped lemon curd pie. Sweet smoke ,fresh leather and brine. It’s a Caol Ila alright, nothing fancy or out of the ordinary, not bad though.
Palate: Oh. Starts quite strong with mint, pepper and tons of sweet creamy smoke. Lots of peat which transforms to sweeter maltier sensations. Bitter ash galore.
Finish: Long . Classic finish of dry ash, seaweed and brine.
No surprises here. Not an ultra complex or ground breaking dram, but It’s not bad either. However for the same price of the superb Lagavulin, I do expect more than just a Cask Strength Caol Ila (you can buy for a lot cheaper). This is a rather disappointing bottling after all, and does not offer a good Bang for your buck ratio. We expect more from a festival bottling, and this one did not deliver.