Review: Caol Ila 19 Years Old 1996 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Douglas Laing Old Particular) / by Jason Hambrey

19 years; Refill Sherry Cask
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Caol Ila (Port Askaig, Scotland)

This is a single cask bottling by Douglas Laing of Caol Ila spirit matured 19 years in a refill sherry hogshead.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: Cask 10971 (313 bottles)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

The peat has certainly shifted – much of the big smokiness is faded and the mineral and marine character of the peat is at the fore. Oak, dried fish, rockpools, stewed summer fruits, burning leaves, oak embers, stewed peach, white gooseberry, and light oiliness. Nice on the nose, but not yet a world of its own.

On the palate, the peat is quite delicate but ashy and dry in a very compelling way. The tannins feed in nicely, and there are some lighter vanilla notes alongside rich cinnamon and clove. And some distrinct jalapeno. The cask strength is a great strength to drink at, and brings forth the elegance of the whisky. It is very good, and goes down easily – but there is less complexity than ideal here also. The finish is smoky, with stewed fruits, toffee, custard, and light rancio. Very nice whisky.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. A pretty expensive buy.