Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: Yes
Average price: € 39.00
Official website: www.malts.com
Launched in 2011 as a limited edition for the Friends of Classic Malts at Diageo, Caol Ila’s Dawn (that’s what Moch means) is now widely available in large-scale distribution.
It was the first of the NAS for the distillery, with the idea of offering a softer, lighter version of the classic 12 year old which, let’s face it, is not exactly a crowd pleaser.
A (slightly) cheaper version, to introduce newcomers to the harmonies of the distillery without giving them an immediate slap in the face, will it hold its own against its 12-year-old brother?
Peat smokiness well present on the nose, with a well-matched marriage of maritime and meaty adorned with a splash of lemon. Vanilla, caramel, butter biscuits, apples and a light balsamic note complete the bouquet, not particularly complex but aromatic (and soft) enough to be willingly sniffed.
On first sip, the initial sensation is that the whisky is a little too light, watered down, and in fact even then it slips easily into the palate, leaving an earthy, ashy peat trail accompanied by apple pie, dried fruit, burnt wood and tobacco. There are still balsamic hints in the background, although less marked.
The finish is not very long, of ash, wood, dried fruit and tobacco.
It certainly lives up to its intentions, even too much so, resulting in a pale and light whisky, a watered down version of the 12 year old that may not satisfy those who already know and appreciate it and may not appeal to those who approach it for the first time: if peat frightens you, there are gentler but richer peated whiskies far better than this, such as certain expressions from Highland Park or Kilchoman.
Reviews of Caol Ila whisky in the blog:
A&G Rare Cask Selection Caol Ila 10yo
Cadenhead’s Caol Ila 30yo
Caol Ila 12yo
Caol Ila 18yo
Caol Ila 18yo Unpeated 2017
Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2018
Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength
Càrn Mòr Vertical
Dramfool Cola Ali 4
Dramfool Cola Ali 5
Golden Drops Caol Ila 8yo
Gordon&MacPhail Reserve Caol Ila 2008
Morisco Spirits Caol Ila 11yo
Signatory Caol Ila 1994 Port Wood Finish
The Islay Star 11yo
Valinch & Mallet Caol Ila 11yo
Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 2008-2020 Quercus Alba
The Scotch Noob