Caol Ila

Caol Ila 2004 Distillers Edition

Caol Ila 2004 Distillers Edition (43%, OB, C-si; 2-476, 2016)

  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Caol Ila distillery
  • Bottling: Diageo, OB
  • ABV: 43%
  • Cost: £69.80


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), slightly quicker and finer tears leave fine legs.
  • Nose: More ashen, honey sweetness, malt, a fuller and slightly meatier peat smoke arrives, with hints of smoked cashews and almonds
  • Taste: Full- bodied, slightly spicier and much meatier, beef jerky, malt extract, touch of black and white pepper as well as cinnamon and heat from freshly grated nutmeg, sour oak wood and toffee.
  • Finish: Long, spiced, tarry or sooty peat smoke, more drying and spiced.


A much more meatier and smokier edition than the previous years vintage. Some may like this more but I think this has drifted slightly too far from the sweet and peat balance. More like a standard Caol Ila, malt and smoke becomes spicy and drying and a little sourness from the wood is unmasked too.

Score 82/100

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Categories: Caol Ila, Islay

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