Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Caol Ila.

That weekend of office tidying has become a week so far, with no obvious difference other than some of the piles are now in another room. This looks like being a long job.

So, to help me along, I have a bottle of Caol Ila. I haven't seen this one in the shops before and was lucky to catch it this time. It was the last bottle on the local Tesco's shelf and was £8 off - which still made it £24, so not a cheap one by any means.

It's an Islay smoky malt, with enough peatiness to rival the Ardbeg. Twelve years old and 43% ABV, so it's one for the crystal glasses and the secret cabinet whenever visitors appear. Definitely not a gulpin' whisky. And anyone found putting lemonade in this will not leave the house alive. Purists might be allowed to add a tiny splash of spring water but ask for ice and you'll be put outside, where there is about four tons of it hanging from the roof in long pointy spikes. Then I'll slam the door.

For general guzzling I have Black Bottle, a respectable blend that was on offer at £11 a bottle until recently. It's back to £14 now, still a fair price for a good blend.

The Caol Ila will last a while. This one's not for slurping while writing. This one's for savouring.


Pavlov's Cat said...

Hi Leggy, I would value your opinion on the Jura Origin,
I'm normally a Jamesons or 10yr Bushmills man.
But my local Co-Op always seems to have deals on this one, currently £16 and in these straightened times, it's still a lot to give out without trying. When going for the malts (and somebody else is buying natch) I do like the Islay, any comparison would be helpful.
cheers mate

Simon Cooke said...

Caol Ila - tastes fantastic but the combination of sea cave maturing an dpeat does make it smell like TCP!

Leg-iron said...

Pavlov's Cat - Isle of Jura comes in a few variants these days. I wasn't much taken with the 'superstition' one and I haven't tried the 'origin'. Best thing to do is see if there's a pub that stocks it and buy one glass. That used to be my method of testing new ones, back in the days before smokers were barred from pubs.

Now, the tasting happens at Smoky-Drinkies where we all bring different drinks along. Same principle, different venue, and of course it doesn't have the range of optics a real pub has.

I'd say try a glass first, if possible.

Simon - it's like drinking and smoking at the same time. And it kills any plaque and flushes out your sinuses.

The only downside of these seriously peaty ones is that it's still on your breath in the morning.

I have a theory that ancient drinkers of this stuff wandered into peat bogs and died - and it wasn't the peat that preserved their corpses. They were pickled before they hit the ground!

Anonymous said...

Whats the big thing with not putting ice in whisky?

Tom mann said...

Leggy, have a look at hundreds of whiskys and they sell most as tasters in 30ml bottles. A cheap way of getting my old man a £200 bottle for Xmas!

Conan the Librarian™ said...


Would you chill red wine?

Anonymous said...

Nope just white but somehow whisky seems better to me with a chunk of ice cooling it down a bit...

Styx said...

Beaujolais is pretty good lightly chilled actually.

Ice in whisky is however, a sin without pardon!

Anonymous said...


I've been to Islay, and visited Caol Ila. An excellent whisky, £24 is a decent price. Interestingly Black Bottle contains Bunnahabhainn, a mere 2 miles from Caol Ila. BB is a decent blend, and at £11 a bottle is another bargain - one to share at smoky-drinky perhaps?



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