A few months ago I reviewed this Caol Ila 2001 from Gordon & MacPhail. Today I have another one for you, namely a Caol Ila 2003 that was also released under the Connoisseurs Choice label.

Last time I was very surprised about the quality of this Caol Ila. Although surprised may not be the right word, Caol Ila actually always has a certain quality and consistency and I also think this series of Gordon & MacPhail is pretty good. It really can’t go very wrong. So I’m also very curious about this Caol Ila, which is perhaps a bit younger but has matured in the same type of cask and the alcohol percentage is also very similar.

This Caol Ila has matured in a 1st fill bourbon barrel and is bottled at 55.7% ABV.

Caol Ila 2003 tasting notes:

Nose: A layer of peat. Some vanilla in the background. A faint hint of lemons combined with brine. Ginger. Followed by unripe pears. A chalk note.

Taste: Somewhat peaty, but nothing too much. Vanilla here as well. Caramel sweetness. A honey note. Burnt wood. In the end, I get a hint of carbon. It’s quite spicy in the end, peppery.

Finish: Mid-long, with spices. Pepper and cinnamon mostly. Oak.

I expected more of this one as I do like Caol Ila and mostly it’s quite good. Don’t get me wrong it’s still nice, but I would have loved it to be more open and less woody in the finish. The one that I reviewed last time is, in my opinion, a lot more interesting and tastier.

Sample provided by Gordon and MacPhail.