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Caol Ila Distillery Independent Bottlers Island of Islay Scotland

Signatory Caol Ila 1994 Port Wood Finish

Review of a 1994 Caol Ila from Signatory with a Port finishing.

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 46%ABV
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Port
Chillfiltered: No
Added coloring: No
Owner: Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Company
Average price: € 93.00
Official website: www.signatoryusa.com
Vote: 86/100

Founded in 1988 by Andrew and Brian Symington and ranked number one in 2002 and 2003 among independent bottlers by the authoritative Whisky Magazine, the Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Company (or Signatory for short) is distinguished by its exclusive selection of vintage single casks from different distilleries.
These are then released, one at a time, into the Unchillfiltered Collection or the Cask Strength Collection in a limited number of hand-numbered bottles, with no added colouring or chilliltration, in an attempt to offer a whisky as close as possible to that of the cask.

As the label clearly states, today’s Caol Ila Port Wood Finish, included in the Unchillfiltered Collection, was distilled on 12 May 1994 and 1259 bottles were bottled on 16 August 2004 (10yo then). The indication of the type of cask, n. 04/0292, is rather generic: oak cask. And unfortunately we don’t know the length of ageing in ex-Port wood. The alcohol content is 46% ABV. Our bottle is No. 946.

Tasting notes

In the glass, the colour is light gold.
A puff of peat immediately arrives on the nose which, gentle though it is, makes it clear beyond reasonable doubt that we are dealing with an Islay whisky. For a few minutes, an impression of bacon and a hint of ginger also remain. With time, sweet notes of dates and vanilla emerge, very incisive as the drink goes on.
On the palate, in perfect harmony with the nose, the peat, always a little muted compared to the official Caol Ila, is immediately unopposed. However, after a few minutes, a faint sweetness, again of dates and vanilla, together with a hint of ginger, intervenes to enrich the range of aromas.
The finish, which is shorter than the very long finish of a Caol Ila 12yo, undoubtedly smells of smoke (cigarette?), with a barely perceptible sweet caress.

The finish in an ex-Port cask hasn’t distorted the deeper essence of Caol Ila, but enriched it with new nuances. The result is a non-trivial dram, a complex, balanced, recommendable whisky.

Reviews of Caol Ila whisky in the blog:
A&G Rare Cask Selection Caol Ila 10yo
Caol Ila 12yo
Caol Ila 18yo
Caol Ila 18yo Unpeated 2017
Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2018
Caol Ila Moch
Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength
Càrn Mòr Vertical
Dramfool Cola Ali 4
Dramfool Cola Ali 5
Dream N°2
Golden Drops Caol Ila 8yo
Gordon&MacPhail Reserve Caol Ila 2008
Morisco Spirits Caol Ila 11yo
The Islay Star 11yo
Valinch & Mallet Caol Ila 11yo
Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 2008-2020 Quercus Alba

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