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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Caol Ila -Gordon & MacPhail- 1996/23 Year |Connoisseurs Choice| Refill Sherry Butt #16075 58.3%

Caol Ila’s sort of become the most affable distillery in the scotch world. Loved by just about everyone in the market, especially by bottlers who are able to consistently throw an Islay whisky into their releases at a strangely affordable price point. Don't let the price point fool you though, it's often some highly quality stuff! And plays well at just about every age I've tried.

Caol Ila Gordon & MacPhail Refill Sherry Butt 16075 58.3%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Appearance: Copper

First Whiff: Candied bacon, typical “Sweet Peat”

Nose: Lightly struck matchbox striker (that big red strip on the side), no sulfur here though. Tree sap, yes maple-y but fresh off the wood. Speaking of, this one’s gotten into the wood a bit, smoked caramel, candied citrus, oranges. Feels like one of those sherry-treated American Oak casks, used in the Feis 2019 bottling, could've ran away, and found a home in the G&M warehouse.

Palate: More on the refill side here. Oily. Beautiful. The spirit let the cask shine on the nose but kicked it out of the glass when it got to the mouth. Slight leather, salinic, tarry ropes. Hint of red apple sneaks in there but fades away once the rubbery dark chocolate takes over.

Finish: Medium-long, slight burn, water was favorable.

Summary: As i mentioned, it’s really hard to find a “bad” Caol Ila, especially when it’s had time to rest 20+ years in a sherry cask…first fill, refill, no matter. There’s a bit of a squabble between the spirit and the oak in the front of the palate though. A couple more years in the cask and surely those two could’ve resolved their differences. A wonderful drop still, and easily drinkable.

IDS Score: 88


Caol Ila Refill Sherry Butt 16075 58.3%


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