Whisky Reviews

Caol Ila 1991 16 Year Old


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Sound of the Islay; Caol Ila. With the phenomenal capacity to produce up to 3 million litres of fine whisky per year, Caol Ila is the largest distillery on the island that makes up the Islay distillery region. Not bad, right? While they’ve got a lot of expressions on the market, the one I’m going to take a look at today is, in fact, the only one they had at my local bar upon my last visit (shameful!); the 1991, 16 year old.

Rather than chatter on, as I often do, I’ll get straight to the point. I’ve been trying to find the right word to summarize the characteristics displayed by this whisky. I touched upon classics such as complex, delicate and nuanced but none of them felt right, alone nor in each others loving company. Then it came to me, the one word that I think summarizes this whisky: Elegant. That’s what it is, it’s elegant.

Eye: Quite dark golden.

Nose: An elegant (there it is!), nuanced combination of first slight smoke- and woodiness, then a hint of honey, nuts, dried fruit and finally chocolate.

Taste: Quite full flavored, medium smoky, again with hints of honey, nuts and dried fruit but also spice and just a little bit of tar.

The elements that come together to create its final character compliment each other supremely; the tarry smoke makes itself known first, then slowly gives way (without completely leaving) to the sweet taste of honey and dried fruit. Beautiful. The one thing I could think of that would make this whisky better yet is if it were slightly sharper; I quite enjoy the tickling, warming sensation of alcohol at times and I think that just a tad more of it would’ve done this whisky wonders.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click)UK & Europe (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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