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As well as reflecting its smoky, malted barley, Caol Ila is also oily and peaty, with marine and vegetable notes. Its recent official bottlings, which are particularly expressive, have an intense smoky and peaty character with a good balance of saltiness and sweetness. Superb versions of this single malt have also been released by independent bottlers Gordon MacPhail & Signatory Vintage. Caol Ila’s stills, which are large and onion-shaped, have a strong influence on this single malt and give it a fairly light and delicate character. Find out more
This independent bottler is without a doubt one of the most highly acclaimed in Scotland. It stands out, not for its age (though it is the oldest independent bottler in Scotland), but for its complete mastery of cask ageing. Gordon & MacPhail is the only bottler to have its own casks - carefully chosen for the purpose - filled by the distilleries themselves, instead of simply buying the ones suggested to them by the latter. This allows it to determine, in advance and with great precision, exactly how many years a whisky will need to reach ideal maturation.
Of all the existing specialist bottling ranges, Connoisseurs Choice is without doubt the oldest. The label underwent a few changes in the 1980s. Plainer and more restrained, it became two-toned with creams and browns. When segmentation by region of production region was adopted by the whisky industry in the early 1990s, the range changed its identity again. The label now shows a map of the region of Scotland where the malt comes from. To the delight of whisky enthusiasts, the range, which is always evolving, is now bottled at 43% and 46%.
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