Caol Ila 15 Years Old 1998 Feis Ile 2013 (56.5%, OB, Triple Matured, 3000 Bottles, 2013)
- 56.5% ABV, £100 for 70cl from Caol Ila Distillery shop
- Score: 87/100
What they say:
“Spirit distilled in 1998 has been triple-cask matured. For 12 years it rested in a combination of Refill Butts, Hogsheads and Barrels. The vatted whisky was then allowed to mature for several months in active hogshead casks to impart a spicy/oaky note to the existing delicate Caol Ila smoke. Finally it was treated to a final gentle maturation in European oak.” Limited release of 3000 bottles for the Islay Festival Feis Ile.
What I say:
The second dram we tried in the Caol Ila tasting room was the Caol Ila Feis Ile 2013 Triple Matured expression (far right bottle in above picture).
Sweet almondy marzipan, a slightly burnt aroma, hints of peanut/sweet earthy peat, putty with a hint of oranges and orange oil and some salty seaweed
Sweet nut (almond, peanut) oil, savoury with a building of cinnamon spice, oily in mouthfeel, an iodine saltiness develops with a little metallic tang, strangely not copper more like zinc or iron filings adding to that germolene antiseptic flavour
Finally a little smoke comes through and threatens to become slightly drying before a mouthcoating syrupy sweetness and fruitiness rapidly takes over, really quite long and entertaining
Would I buy it:
Damn, I really wish we had! A reasonable number of bottles were still available even though we visited the distillery nearly 12 months after Feis Ile 2013 – with preparations for Feis Ile 2014 in full swing. Unfortunately I guess it is down to poor marketing and possibly that missing sense of character that Caol Ila suffers that have resulted in this stunning whisky still sitting on the shelf. This is the best Caol Ila we have tasted, perfectly drinkable at cask strength, amusing and entertaining despite the challenging flavours roiling around in there. Simply Islay whisky as it should be!