Caol Ila

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Type: Islay

Known for: peat smoke and pear drops

And: the best view of any still room anywhere

Contact: www.discovering-distilleries.com

Overview:

It’s the view that knocks you out. Islay’s picture perfect gorgeous almost anywhere you look, but from inside the still room at Caol Ila you’re treated to a whole new level because as the stills around you warm the air and fill the room with a delectable steaming fug of whisky on the way, the floor-to-ceiling windows in front of them gaze out onto the Sound of Islay and across its icy waters to the island of Jura beyond.

As manager Billy Stitchell told us when we dropped in, “there’s plenty to see out there. Dolphins, seals, basking sharks and even killer whales on occasion”. Even the deer on Jura have been known to swim across the strait. All round, it’s pretty special and from inside the still room you can happily forgive Caol Ila the monstrous concrete lump they’ve built to accomodate the modern distillery on the old site. It’s a carbuncle of the highest order, but is thankfully well out of side once inside.

But enough of the architecture because we’re here for the whisky, so what of it?

In its distinctive olive green bottles, Caol Ila’s an Islay gem, all oily and smoky and they don’t pull their punches on strength either – you’ll find nothing here under 43%. But there’s refinement in there too by the bucketload, and if you like a bit of peat you’ll find an awful lot to enjoy in Caol Ila’s lineup.

Buy Caol Ila Scotch whisky from:

Master of Malt

The Whisky Exchange

Whisky Online (all manner of Caol Ila curios in here for the cognoscenti)

Tasting notes:

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