Review: Caol Ila Feis Ile release 2013

We’ve reached the final mystery dram provided by Malt-Review as part of our ongoing exchanges of samples. It’s another fine expression from the generally excellent Caol Ila distillery on Islay. This one has been especially bottled for the Feis Ile festival held in 2013.

Now automatically you may have thought this to be the best of the bunch amongst this package of samples. Arguably on paper factoring in rarity and current market value that would be the case however whisky is all about personal opinion. This would have been an excellent dram for any evening but having just sampled the superb Stitchell Reserve bottled in 2013 and from Caol Ila as well, it’s having to take a back seat. Still, both deliver fine blows for this overlooked Islay distillery. 

Distillery: Caol Ila
Distilled: 1998
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 56.5%
Edition of: 3000 bottles
Additional: triple matured

Colour: honey

Nose: seaweed, moss, charcoal all of those wonderful peat characteristics. After Eight mint chocolate thins, a metallic edge that reminds me of tarragon but there’s a sweet creaminess and richness to it as well; a classic black forest gateau. 

This offers a huge depth on this nose, there really is; a touch of orange peel in the background. When I was a kid and my granddad used to work down the mines it brings back memories of being around him.

Taste: far from the monster I was expecting or as richly layered as the nose. Well sculpted is a better summary. More saltiness, brine-like and a meaty texture like the hotdogs were left in the equation. There’s a coastal feel wrapped up in the glass here. Just a really nice stroll along the harbour at Anstruther, sadly without the fish supper at the end of it.

A fine dram without question and you can read what Malt-Review thought about it here. That’s me finished this latest malt-swap but head on over to check out Mark’s thoughts on some mystery drams I’ve sent in return. The whole exercise is rewarding enjoyable; not only do you gain new dramming experiences but you might find a gem along the way. Yes, there will be a couple of pot holes and some rough moments. Yet new horizons will appear and an appreciation for a whisky outside of your usual comfort zone.  


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