A ‘Benchmark whisky’ rubric — no allegories today. Does it have to be ‘beauty in plainness’? You are the one to decide. Does it have to be ‘beauty in quality? 100% so.
Recognizable, typical AyeSLAY, yet gentle peat on the nose. A lot of black pepper, which is quite pleasant together with peat. A little bit of honey and acacia sweetness. A tiny bit of iodine. Water, as almost always, makes black pepper stronger, which makes peat going forth.
On the tongue it’s what Caol Ila is known for — oily. Salty and ashy smoke.
Don’t judge the finish after your first dram — surprisingly, it reveals its depth after several sips: fast come bitterness, salt and smoke stay in, a little bit of tobacco that has a little bit of orange arrives later.
Caol Ila 12 doesn’t have any particular feature to be an outstanding whisky. It’s more of a reference to say ‘nah, this AyeSLAY mate is not as good as Caol Ila 12’ or ‘hmm, this is even better than Coal Ila 12’ (with latter due to biggest respect). If I were ever to value pithiness — not my diagnosis — I would simply say: it’s a well made and extremely enjoyable whisky with everything at its place.
In AyeSLAY terms, gentle peat. Black pepper, a bit of honey and acacia. Iodine.
Oily. Salt and ashy smoke.
Salt, smoke, a bit of tobacco and a tiny bit of orange.