Caol Ila

Caol Ila 2003 Distillers Edition

Caol Ila 2003 Distillers Edition (43%, OB, C-si; 2-475, 2015)

  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Caol Ila distillery
  • Bottling: Diageo, OB
  • ABV: 43%
  • Cost: £70


What they say

Richly flavoured yet also drying and finely balanced, the Moscatel cask wood is not over evident in this double-matured Caol Ila.

Official tasting notes

  • Nose: Wonderfully concentrated pure, clean Caol Ila – peaty and medicinal, with rich fruit, spicy and fragrant. With water, the fragrant smokiness comes singing through.
  • Taste: in brief… Brilliant, clean and refined with great balance. In a sentence… An extraordinarily stylish and complex double-matured expression of Caol Ila; the Moscatel cask wood not over- evident; richly flavoured yet also drying and finely balanced.
  • Palate: Sweetness and maltiness strike first, then are quickly overwhelmed by peat smoke and intense, clean, crisp flavours. Caol Ila’s signature smoky bonfires are here, and build to quite a size. Overall, drying, in a beautifully balanced, complex, elegant development with cinnamon spice.

What I say

Another of our side-by-side Distillers Edition tastings, this time looking at Caol Ila’s Moscatel Cask finished DE from 2003 and 2004 vintages, bottled 2015 & 2016 respectively.

Purchased from Master of Malt.

My tasting notes

  • Appearance: Full amber gold (10/20), slow, medium & oily tears leave fine legs
  • Nose: More perfumed, dried fruits, orange peel, peach and apricot, honey sweet then dry and dusty cigarette ash, quite earthy and a touch mossy too.
  • Taste: Full-bodied, oily and a touch zesty, orange peel and lemon oil give a sherbet like fizz, honey and thick malt, mixed orchard and stone fruits – like a smoothie, polished and sweet, golden syrup and a hint of baking spices and a background of smoke, cask char and teriyaki or BBQ jerky.
  • Finish: Long, sweet and smoky, a suggestions of liqourice root dipped in sherbet (sherbet fountain?), peaty and sweet woody smoke persist with flashes of honey and orange zest or rough-cut marmalade.


A deliciously sweet and peaty Caol Ila Distillers Edition with a burst of well-integrated fruits adding to the heady malt and smoke mixture.

Score 84/100

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Categories: Caol Ila, Islay

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