Islay's powerhouse distillery produces approximately 3.5 million liters of spirit annually with the vast majority going into Diageo's Johnnie Walker Black label. Sitting on the very edge of the north shore it's a very short trip from the ferry terminal at Port Askaig to the tasting room. As a result, Caol Ila is a very popular stop for the island's tourists.
Behind window #12: Caol Ila 12 Year Old, 43% alc., £34/$51
C: Bright gold
N: Leads with peat and coastal sea breeze but push through that and there are hints of green banana, US Smarties, and cow barn
P: Wonderfully peppery and bright with fresh lemon zest and just a hint of seaweed
F: Long and lingering with more freshly cracked black pepper, barbecued pineapple, and camp fire ash
In conclusion: Such a great representation of what Islay has to offer. Its brightness and freshness is representative of standing at the distillery and putting your face into the wind: bracing!
Sincere thanks to Master of Malt's Drinks by the Dram for the sample.