I really like the peat on this -- plenty of it, but it has a grainy, fresh grist quality to it. The palate is very hot, lots of peat. Water helps make it less hot, but the nose disappears. The finish is like salt water and turns to burnt bacon. Does not hold up after drinking the South Islays, but on its own, its quite enjoyable.
A softer and more gente Islay Malt with all the clasic tastes but all are tame compared to Lag or Laphroaig. None of the floral notes from Bowmore and not much earthiness like Ardbeg. I suppose if you like light smoke and peat but not too much of anything, this is for you.
Nose: Strong SMOKE, peaty, ash, medicinal, with some briny saltwater notes poking through - lovely
Palate: To be honest there isn't a ton of complexity here - but what it's doing, it does exceptionally well and loudly. There is an initial sweetness with a grassy note - almost like a lowland malt, followed by sweet campfire smoke, that pulls it through to the finish.
Finish: Medium finish, doesn't overstay it's welcome - leaves you with some smoke on your tongue. Little bitterness but the smoke overtakes it. It goes down easy but makes itself known.
This is some great stuff. It's a really well balanced whisky - I've yet to run into a Caol Ila that I don't like. It doesn't try to to do too much - and knows what its bread and butter is. Whenever people ask me what smokey whisky they should try. I send them to the Lagavulin 16 and/or the Caol Ila 12 for starters. This is a must try and a must buy - every household should have a bottle laying around.
n: initial malt sweetness with a rounded smokiness of peat and the seashore. Iodine, bacon in a hot cast-iron skillet, and a dose of brine.
t: Follows the nose with Earthy smoke, sweetness from the malted barley, and sea-salt caramel green apples. Smoke reasserts itself in the finish. A more subtle Islay with a nice sweetspot that delivers a good dose of smoke for a tasty whisky that is fun and easy to drink. A great introduction for newcomers due to the softer Islay charcteristics, but still full-flavoured.