Paired with the Port Ellen, we also tasted another Islay Scotch – the Caol Ila 18-year
Located on the eastern coast of the Islay region in Scotland just across the straight from Jura, Caol Ila can trace its roots back to 1846. However, the current large-production distillery, sitting on the site of the original distillery, was completed just over 40 years ago. Expansion was warranted as Coal Ila positioned itself to a supplier for outside blenders. Not surprisingly, it is now owned by Diageo.
Caol Ila is often known as one of the more approachable Islay whiskies, which are known for their extreme smoked peat character. Caol Ila’s offerings, however, often soften the harsh smoke with floral, peppery and fruity notes. Because of this softer approach to smoke and peat, much of Caol Ila’s production is used by Diageo in other branded blends (like Johnnie Walker) or sold to outside blended scotch producers.