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92/100 Distiller
89/100 Whisky Advocate
86/100 The Whisky Base
83/100 Whisky Notes
82/100 The Whisky Philes

Man of Many '21 Best Scotch Whisky Brands - 2020' N#12

Named after distillery manager Billy Stitchell when he retired, this bottling honours his 39 years at Caol Ila, following in the footsteps of four previous generations of his family.

Paul Belbusti - Distiller "The nose on this whisky is tame and has very subtle hints of brine and sea air. On the palate, this whisky can only be described as graceful. Despite the high proof, it is light as air with notes of fresh pine needles, and cut wood. The finish is fresh, with a hint of vanilla biscuits. With additional sips, tropical fruits emerge. Not the first or last surprise from this unorthodox dram.

Dave Broom - Whisky Advocate "Caol Ila in unpeated guise. There’s no age statement, but what you get is a mix of the fresh and the mature: a vibrant attack with fresh Victoria plum, grapes, and a hint of oiliness. Give it time and the sensation is like afternoon tea at your auntie’s, with thickly-buttered scones dripping with honey or pineapple jam. The palate is equally sweet and gentle, and only needs a little drop of water to reveal light spice. A wee beauty."

Master of Malt "A lovely dram and an appropriate way to celebrate Billy Stitchell’s 39 years at the distillery."

Billy Abbott "Much more unpeated than some of the other releases and great for it. It doesn’t feel like a typical Caol Ila, with lots of darker notes masking the usual freshness, and at almost 60% can happily take a good slug of water."

Nose - Powerful, golden, and dusty malt, some scents of lemon and then vanilla.
With water, toffee notes.

Taste - Warm and powerful malt, supported by vanilla.

Finish - Aromatic profile similar to the above, with caramel as a bonus.

Jacob Osborne, Man of Many '21 Best Scotch Whisky Brands - 2020' "Why did we put Caol Ila on the list? Because we’re all about that smoke, ’bout that smoke. We know it’s an acquired taste, but we still think less of you if you don’t like it. Just kidding—we have nothing against all you peat-haters out there. Everyone else, start picking up what this long-running Scotch whisky brand is throwing down. You’ll be glad you did."

Caol Ila was founded to the North of Islay in 1846 by the pleasingly-named Hector Henderson. The capacity is moderate at 3.65 million litres annually. Just 5% is kept for maturation as a single malt. From 1999, unpeated single malts have been experimented with and in 2006 the first unpeated bottling was released in the form of an eight-year-old. Caol Ila, whose name derives from the Gaelic for ‘Sound of Islay, has been included in the Diageo Classic Malts range, exhibiting twelve and eighteen-year-old expressions as well as a Moscatel-finished Distillers Edition. 




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