Fresh, sweetly fruity and smooth-bodied, Caol Ila 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky is the colour of pale straw, with a delicate balance of tastes. The clean, appetising nose shows subtle citrus fruit with just a puff of smoke. Firm and smooth, it begins sweetly then yields a fragrant smokiness and a sweet-smoky, lingering finish.
Appearance: Pale straw.
Nose: Subdued, citric fruitiness; a whiff of bath oil and dentist's mouthwash. A fresh and appetising nose, with little or no trace of smoke. A little water raises almond oil and old-fashioned oilskins; still a fresh fruitiness (lychees?), a trace of olive oil, and after a while pot pourri or scented hand-soap.
Body: Firm, smooth, light to medium.
Palate: Drinks well at natural strength; sweet start; pleasant, light fragrant smokiness and a lengthy finish. Smooth, pleasant mouth-feel; with water light acidity, some salt and still the sweeter notes. A complex balance of primary tastes.
Finish: Sweet smokiness in the lingering, slightly sour finish.
A seductive brininess and waves of oily peat-reek greet the olfactory sense. The palate entry finds a surprisingly buttery-creamy leaning along with the peat-reek; at midpalate the flavor becomes concentrated, oily, malty sweet, and only moderately peaty. Ends on a sweet malty note. Builds from stage to stage, each phase being better than the last. Best Buy. -P.P.