As a housewarming gift (at least I think this was the reason back in 2009), my two close friends bought me a bottle of the Caol Ila 12 Year. This scotch is deceptive. It’s lightly coloured and looks thin. It smells oily and outrageously peaty. After the first few ounces were poured I thought, “How on earth could anyone enjoy this whisky that one could easily mistake for gasoline?” And then we drank it.
Oily and peaty, the Caol Ila 12 Year instantly coats your tongue – this is all you’ll taste for the rest of the evening so be prepared. But it’s also remarkably smooth without any harshness which was surprising. This whisky is so well-crafted, in fact, that the three of us finished the bottle that night. Fair warning if you plan on imbibing several ounces: the smell of campire and peat will ooze from your pores for the next day or two, and your sweat will have a wonderfully oily quality to it. My girlfriend (now wife) said she could smell me before I came in the front door. No kidding, there is no amount of showering that will get the smell off of you. You simply need time; lots of clear, non-alcoholic liquids; and clean, wholesome food. And a place to recover from the hangover if you do what we three did. These minor inconveniences notwithstanding, I can honestly say the Caol Ila 12 Year was an unexpectedly pleasant discovery and I’ll return to it again without a doubt.