Sunday, 19 March 2017

Gordon & Macphail Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2004

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Tonight's whisky is one from Gordon & Macphail: a Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2004.

Saying that Caol Ila is Islay’s understated distillery would be plain wrong. In the past ten years Caol Ila has earned its place as a distillery delivering consistently (jeez, that almost sounds like Ralfy Mitchell) good malts. Within a few years the marketing minds will probably start crafting a heritage story for Caol Ila.


Caol Ila uses the same malted barley as Lagavulin: 35 ppm malted barley from Diageo’s Port Ellen Maltings. The cutting point of the spirit run’s heart is different. Caol Ila starts the middle cut of the second run at 75% and ends it at 65% leaving out some of the heavier phenols in the new make spirit.






Identity Card Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2004

  • Caol Ila Distillery, Port Askaig (Islay)

  • Bottled by Gordon & Macphail

  • 2004 Vintage - Bottled 5 July 2016

  • Matured in first & refill bourbon barrels

  • Alcohol: 46% ABV

Tasting Notes

Colour: A pale yellow whisky. White wine. Swirling leaves fast moving legs on the glass.

Nose: Very aromatic. Pulled pork and honey-glazed BBQ bacon. Lavendar and violet candy. White fruits such as apple and melon. Lots of medicinal notes. Mandarins. Fir and vanilla aromas. Black aniseed candy.
With water: Lime zest and white fruit. Liquorice tea. Wine gums and violet. Roasted aniseed and fennel seed. Orange juice. Maybe even Fanta lemonade.

Taste: Creamy vanilla with pepper, ginger and lemon. Dry and sweet. Bananas and apricot. Smoke. Cigaret ash and bitter cocoa with salted caramel.
With water: Apple juice, white chocolate. Breakfast granola and muesli.

Finish: Smoky dark lavender chocolate and roasted oatmeal porridge. A long finish.

Another Caol Ila that absolutely nails it. Quality bourbon casks are (to me) the best maturing vessels for this Islay malt. It boasts some lovely side flavours next to its trademark smokiness. One for the shopping basket. Definitely.

Sample disclosure: The Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2004 sample was offered by Gordon & Macphail. Opinions expressed in this review are of course my own.

Image credit: Gordon & Macphail
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