Not much of a Feis Ile 2021 this year due to Covid, but some distilleries released interesting editions that were sold online to their fans. Diageo has bottled a 12-year-old Caol Ila 12, and a 13-year-old Lagavulin 13 which sold nicely on malts.com
The Caol Ila festival bottling has been matured in refill American-Oak and finished in high char Moscatel-seasoned casks. Fèis Ìle Caol Ila 12-Year-Old is bottled at 56.6% ABV, there were 3,000 bottles in this batch.
Let’s have a wee taste, shall we?
Caol Ila 12-year-old Feis Ile 2021 , 56.6% , £130
Nose: Quite classic CI notes on the nose, with initial peatiness on the first wave of aromas, along with ash and charcoal with a nice coastal feel to it as one would expect from Coal Ila (sea spray, seaweed, mossy notes as well). A nice sweetness comes on the 2nd wave of sensation with a touch of honey, vanilla, and creme Catalan alongside a hint of dried fruit – mostly sultanas.
Palate: A sweet and smoky entry with sweet notes of honey from the nose hitting the palate, alongside an avalanche of sweet peat, char, and soot. There’s also a note of smokey raisin and nut milk chocolate, sweet, juicy, and lovely. The heat comes on the 2nd wave of sensation – in the form of chilies, and pepper, ginger, and vanilla pastries baked in a wood fire stove. Lots of wood fire, wood embers, and some salted caramel. More seaweed and salt towards the end, with the sweet sultanas still in the background.
Finish: very long with the wood smoke going a long way, alongside ash, more soot, and earth mixing nicely with the sweeter honey and sultana notes. Cinnamon and licorice notes lead the way until the very end.
Conclusion: This year’s Feis Coal Ila is a lovely dram, It’s not as good as the 22-year-old from 2019 but it’s damn good, complex, sweet smoky, and fun. The Moscatel enhanced the whisky nicely without adding too many wine-y notes – I am sure Coal Ila lovers will enjoy it quite a bit. Good stuff, well done.