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2001 Adelphi Caol Ila 11 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 60.6%
Caol Ila (Gaelic for 'the Sound of Islay') is situated on the north eastern shores of Islay, with magnificent views across the Sound of Islay to the spectacular Paps of Jura. The distillery was built in 1846 by Hector Henderson - a Glasgow businessman with a keen interest in distilling. Like Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich, the development of Caol Ila created along with it a community of its own. Without these distilleries, it is likely that there would have been little sustained human interference in these areas at all.
In 1857 Henderson went out of business and the distillery was purchased by Bulloch Lade & Co. The Distillers Company Limited took over management in 1927. From this date production continued until 1972, when the entire structure of the distillery was demolished.
A larger, modernised operation was built in the same original architectural style. Craftsmen also faithfully reproduced the six stills from the original design to ensure a continuity of style. Production resumed in 1974. Today, Caol Ila is the largest producer on the island, with much of its output making its way into blends.
Stylistically, this is one of the more lightly peated Islays. Nevertheless, for lovers of Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin, cask strength releases of this whisky should impress. This edition from Adelphi is one of only 280 bottles.
Tasting note: Typically youthful Caol Ila in appearance, being very pale straw in colour. Initial nosing yields choc fudge laced with seductive, sweet peaty notes - namely cigar box and dried kelp. With aeration hints of citrus peel emerge into the mix while the smokiness seems to retreat. Final inspection offers more lozenge like characteristics. Outstanding aromatic complexity. A soft, semi sweet, slightly viscous entry builds into a concentrated, medium dry mid palate featuring Fisherman's Friend, hints of citrus, cocoa and lively spices followed by a momentary bitter-sweet note. The softness of the spices is simply remarkable, like weights wrapped in pillows, they pound gently in the mouth and deep into the aftertaste. The Fisherman's Friend flavours are finally eclipsed by cigar-like fade that lasts for minutes. Apparently this is 60%? You wouldn't believe it. Just amazing balance. If you buy Islay but bypass this we don't know what to say. An extraordinary cask. 60.60% Alc./Vol.