Caol Ila’s Fèis Ìle 2014 bottling was selected by new distillery manager David Wood (a truly excellent name for anybody in a position to choose casks) who carries on Billy Stitchell’s great work. Matured in refill American oak hogsheads, 1,500 bottles have been released.
Nose: A little peanut brittle gives way to a smokier version of the Islay sea food van including a touch of oil from the engine. (I’ve just confirmed that it was the whisky as I was actually stood next to the van when we first opened the bottle!) Lemon slices, plenty of very sweet seaweed, moving into hints of menthol then ‘lemon and lavender’.
Palate: Initially substantial, but you soon realise this is a velvety whisky, not one with loads of oomph. Creamy vanilla and sort of ‘fizzy’ coastal oak with a little smoke.
Finish: Sweet Caol Ila smoke.
Overall: A yummy Caol Ila that’s a little sweeter than their core range.