Caol Ila 2003 Cask Strength, G & M Connoisseurs Choice

door | november 11, 2020

The second new Connoisseurs Choice range sample we review is also the second Caol Ila sample we received from Maturation Master Gordon & MacPhail. Should be nice to compare this one with the previous one although there are some very important differences.

As I said in an earlier blog, the new Connoisseurs Choice range does not have a fixed ABV. The past years that was 46%, now the ABV varies from 40% to Cask Strength. This brings us the first big difference between the previous sample and this one. The Hermitage finished 2004 Caol Ila was bottled at 45%, this bottling has a Cask Strength ABV of 57,7%.

The second big difference is the fact that this is a single cask bottling and the first sample was a small batch made out of whisky from more casks. These casks were partly first fill Bourbon and partly refill American casks before the whisky got it’s wood finish. This whisky in this sample got it’s full maturation in a first fill bourbon barrel.

Last but not least, there is a slight difference in stated age as well. 13 years versus 14 years. However, I don’t think that this small age difference will be one with the most influence…

Notes by Jeroen

  • Nose: Nice and subtle peatsmoke with a touch of a salmiak saltyness. Sweet honey and vanilla notes. After a while I get a hint of red grapefruit.
  • Taste: Creamy and warming mouthfeel. Smoky of course but not in a dominant way. There is a hint of white pepper followed by sweet honey and again the grapefruit. Well balanced!
  • Finish: A lovely lasting finish, sweet and smoky.

I absolutely like this Caol Ila a lot more than the first sample. 

Notes by Peter

  • Nose: Peatsmoke, marmalade, vanilla, honey and a bit of cinnamon.
  • Taste: Smoke, sweet fruits, vanilla, honey and marmalade.
  • Finish: A long finish with smoke, honey and again some cinnamon.

This is a lovely dram! It has a wonderful nose, I even had the smell of an old basement. The taste is also very nice!
If you can try this one, you should!

 Again we thank Gordon & MacPhail for sending us this lovely sample!

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