Caol Ila 9yo, 2010-2020, 52.3% – Signatory Vintage for Kirsch Import

To say there have been an epic amount of single cask Caol Ila between the age of 5 and 15 the last couple of years is an understatement. I don’t a single bottler has been skipped, unless they didn’t want it.

Normally that means that these Caol Ila bottlings are at least somewhat affordable. Not a lot of time has gone by since distillation, so not much has evaporated and not much warehouse space was occupied.

And then there’s this one. Heavily sherried, which always is an influx on the price, but there were still almost 600 bottles from the cask. And yet, it clocks in at, hold on to your butts, € 135.

It’s a nine year old Caol Ila, folks. At one hundred and thirty five euros.

I was the lucky recipient of a sample of it from Longmorn Brother GvB, and decided to review it not too long after. Actually, I think I drank the sample the very same day.

Image from Whiskybase

Very typical young Islay from a fresh sherry cask. The sherry smells a bit like it was from a seasoned cask without much time given to properly integrate. The whisky itself brings a lot of smoky diesel fumes. Engine smoke, grease, but also sea weed and marram grass. Pretty young indeed.

The palate is pretty sharp, with a lot of edgy oak, a hint of glue and lots of rather fresh smoke. It’s coastal with hints of brine and sea weed, with spicy sherry and chili pepper. The sherry also brings a slightly bitter fruity flavor along with it. After a few seconds it starts getting a bit of a fatty texture, which is surprising, and interesting.

The finish has two different aspects. There’s a sherry’d ashy bit that stays in the front of your mouth, and a more woody, warming side that goes down warmly. A very strange combination of things. It’s a bit charcoal like with hints of engine smoke and grease.

Well. It’s nowhere near bad, but it’s also not good enough for the price. It shows a nice layer of thick sherry, and the coastal character of Caol Ila has not been lost. Those are very good things.

However, it does feel like the sherry from the cask and the whisky in the cask haven’t integrated very well. It’s more like they were just put together in the glass as an experiment.

So, I’m not a fan of this and would recommend that if you’re to spend this much money on a bottle, to get a different one. You can get a very nice Caol Ila for half the money.


Caol Ila 09/2010 – 01/2020, 9 years old, Refill Sherry Butt #316625, 52.3%. Available in Germany and in the secondary market.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
This entry was posted in Caol Ila and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s