With this third review from the new Discovery range we change colour of packaging from Green to silvery grey. I guess this is to somehow symbolise the smoke clouds or something.
As it happens I have a couple of other similar Caol Ila’s to compare this to. I have the official 12 Year Old as a reference back to the official release and the Caol Ila 2004 (bottled 2017) – Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail) which in reality was replaced by this new bottle.
In the exact same vain as previously mentioned this is 43% ABV (lower than previous bottles) and around £50 (higher than previous bottles) in the UK. It has been matured in ex-bourbon barrels I think which is the same as the 2017 Connoisseurs bottle but is slightly older at 13 years old.
Colour – white wine (3 for 3 I need to get a new metaphor)
Nose – Brine and sea air. Some apples and pears with some smoked coastal driftwood.
Palate – Lovely autumn fruit notes with overcooked pastry cases. There is a touch of icing sugar and standard Caol Ila peat smoke throughout which is subtle and earthy.
Finish – A long and satisfying finish which brings me back to the distillery and sampling in the warehouse. Lots more of those warm apple pies out the oven and coastal fires
So how do those notes compare to the other two releases? Feel free to go between the reviews and see for yourself but going back to them and sitting with all three there is a lot of differences. The official 12 is the clear outlier having quite a refill sherry influence. This is most noticeable for me in a flight like this rather than one its own though.
Last years Caol Ila from G&M is also very different with a much more active cask giving more spicy notes. The extra strength was also important for giving it some interest and vitality. The new 13 year old though is not bad. Far from it in fact I liked it a lot with its fruity and approachable style allowing you to dig under the smoke and sniff out interesting aspects of the spirit which are more hidden in the other two releases.