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2010 Islay Strait (Caol Ila) 10 Year Old "Sovereign" K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) SKU #1510020

Price: $69.99

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Tasting Notes

Anyone who has taken the ferry to the Isle of Islay from Kennacraig to Port Askaig has seen this special distillery from a unique vantage point. As you motor up the Islay Strait to the port the ferry begins a big sweeping turn into the harbor and you get a spectacular view off the starboard side of Caol Ila’s warehouses and massive distillery. It’s a special introduction to the spectacular beauty of Islay. If you were to skip the port and carry on up the strait you would find Bunnahabhain, and so it was a natural choice for the teaspoon of liquid gold we needed to add to the cask and bring the price of this 10 year down far below the $100 mark. Caol Ila’s natural fruity and smoky profile meshes wonderfully with a sherry butt finish that adds an impressive dark color and nutty flavor to a perennial favorite.

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Staff Reviews

  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    1/12/2021
    K&L Staff Member
    The simple fact that we can get and sell Caol ila over 10 years old for less than $70 as a cask strength single barrel gives us pause. Islay's unsung giant, the Caol Ila distillery looks out of the Straits of Islay offering one of the most impeccable views from any still house in the world. Finished for some time in a nice sherry butt, likely one reused from another bottling, rather than one of these seasoned ones, this Caol Ila is the perfect contrast to the linear saline driven version we bottled with Old Particular this year. Several of my customers have mentioned that it reminds them of peated sherried Bunnahabhain and I have to say I must agree. Indeed there is some Bunnah in this little blend, but not enough to augment the character of this special barrel. The color is an inviting russet. The nose offers a great mixture of peat and sherry that doesn't lean to heavily on either element too stringently. Bacon smoke, leather, ignited citrus oils, fresh innertube - very savory but not that hit of ocean or peat you might expect. On the palate - this is where it hits! Bit burning bunches of moss, chocolate orange truffle, black pepper, finally some saltiness as the finish grows. The spirit is quite fat and lengthy. With water, we lose some of the savory bacon notes on the nose, now more orange and spice. Big sweetness on the palate now and it remains extremely expressive and bold, with a tingly spicy finish. I love it both ways, but I'm going to lean toward straight out of the bottle here although my mood would likely change with the weather. Needless to say, this is one of the biggest scores we've had in a while. It doesn't excite like some of Islay's other distillers, but there's no reason Caol Ila shouldn't remain in every peat lovers upper echelons. This cask only bolsters that lofty reputation, albeit in a not ultra-typical manner.
  • Andrew Whiteley
    By: Andrew Whiteley
    1/11/2021
    K&L Staff Member
    This particular bottling is perhaps one of the starkest examples of why we teaspooned so many casks this year. Ten year old cask strength Caol Ila (without the sherry finish) should cost at least 90 or 100 bucks. Add in a healthy sherry influence and you're likely talking 120-150 through normal channels with todays tariffs. Our close partnerships and a teaspoon of Bunna have tanked the price of this dram to $70/btl. Irrespective of price, the whisky itself is perfect. It's got tons of salt and smoke on the nose stirred together with the attendant scents of a fresh baked mixed berry pie. The palate is big and rich for a 10 year old thanks to the fine sherry finish. Orange marmalade and toast with salted butter show case classic Caol Ila character. A bit of burnt bacon fat jives with cut apples and just a bit of the fine humid woody smell of a dunnage warehouse. It's a complex 10 year old from one of the most important distilleries in Scotland, all at a truly unbeatable price point. The only thing that's not to love is there is only one 1 cask of it.

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