CAOL ILA 2011 The Accomplice Chess Investigation Series French Connections 46%

Single Malt Whisky, Scotland / Islay, 70cl, Ref: 57877

Quantity limited to 2 bottle(s) by client.

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Created by La Maison du Whisky for its website and dedicated exclusively to the Caol Ila distillery, whose initials it shares, the Chess Investigation range is composed of single casks of various maturations and vintages bottled at cask strength or lower. The fourth chapter in this Caol Ila saga, entitled The Accomplice, this version finished in a Ballechin Burgundy cask beautifully sets the scene for the complicity that unites these two single malts with strong characters throughout the tasting. This almost perfect symbiosis reaches its height on the finish when, with an altruism and magnanimity that ranks it among the greats, Caol Ila decides to head to faraway lands, leaving Ballechin the distillery keys.

Profile: the powerful first nose is very peppery, peaty/floral (purple lilac), fruity (orange) and honeyed (acacia). Allowed to breathe, it becomes chocolatey, iodine, salty and camphoric. The dynamic attack hovers over fields of peat that crash into a turbulent sea. This image is bathed in a radiant yet cloudy light. On the mid-palate, ash showers the palate. The taut start of the finish is earthy and chocolate. Ballechin has taken the upper hand over Caol Ila. An oily, rich, milky, floral and fruity (strawberry) peat underscores the nobility of a finish that is also deliciously peppery. At the very end of the finish, bacon adds an animal dimension to the flavour palette.

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Tasting note

  • Appearance : orangey copper.
  • Nose : full, powerful. The particularly peppery first nose stages a very elegant floral (purple lilac, lavender), fruity (orange zest), honeyed (acacia, heather) and apricot peat. Allowed to breathe, it becomes chocolatey, iodine, salty and camphoric. Further on still, aromas of spice, wheat and ripe fruit (Mirabelle plum, Kirsch) appear alongside burnt rubber and cocoa bean. Outstanding.
  • Palate : lively, dynamic. A blend of gooseberry and Mirabelle plum, the attack hovers over peat fields that crash into a turbulent sea. This strong imagery is bathed in a radiant and yet cloudy light. On the mid-palate, lava ash showers the palate and citrus fruit zests (lemon, orange, grapefruit). At the end of the palate, black fruits (bramble, blueberry) showcase the Burgundy cask finish.
  • Overall : long, taut. Exceptionally creamy, chocolate and earthy, the start of the finish reveals impressive power. Ballechin has taken the upper hand over Caol Ila. An oily, rich, milky, floral (lilac) and fruity (strawberry) peat underscores the nobility of a finish that is also deliciously peppery. At the very end of the palate, slices of bacon and bresaola add an animal touch to the flavour palette. The exotic retro-nasal olfaction is dominated by notes of flambéed banana and mango. The empty glass is earthy, rooty (gentian), vegetal (agave) and ashy.
The brand

The brand

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



Although the independent bottler Signatory Vintage cannot claim to be one of the oldest in Scotland, it has managed to build up an extremely solid reputation amongst the great malt connoisseurs. The creator of the famous range The Prestonfield and many other well-known ranges, it is best known for its un-chillfiltered and cask strength bottlings that offer amateurs the chance to enjoy their whisky in its most natural form. It was also one of the first independent bottlers to acquire a distillery and now offers a growing number of expressions of one of the most artisan single malts available.

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