Review: Caol Ila Unpeated 15 Years Old Limited Edition 2018

Review: Caol Ila Unpeated 15 Years Old Limited Edition 2018

Diageo’s annual Special Release series has arrived for 2018, and we’re kicking off our coverage of the ten available in the U.S. by looking at a perennial favorite (and one which is much less expensive than the rest of the field): Caol Ila’s annual unpeated release.

This year’s release is 15 years old, aged in a mix of refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads plus ex-sherry butts, putting it in line with the 2016 version of the whisky.

As is common with this release, it’s uncomplicated but initially engaging, a fresh and surprisingly fruity whisky that offers notes of lemon peel, toasty brioche, and just a hint of ashy coal fires on the nose. There’s a floral, jasmine-like note here, just under the surface, and on the palate that helps to give a bit of a lift to a fairly grain-heavy underpinning, tempered to some degree by notes of caramel, walnuts, and a hint of rubber.

The finish isn’t thrilling, a bit flat and plasticky, with a somewhat gummy aftertaste that mars what is otherwise a fine expression of Caol Ila, sans the peat.

Stay tuned for reviews of the next nine whiskies in the Diageo Special Releases for 2018!

118.2 proof.


Caol Ila Unpeated 15 Years Old Limited Edition 2018




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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