31 August 2021

Caol Ila 12yo 2008-2021 by Single Note

At the beginning of this year, we’ve covered a wonderfully sherried 5yo expression of Caol Ila by the fairly new Dutch bottler Single Note. Now they’re back with another Caol Ila, but this time it’s 12yo and has been matured on fresh bourbon barrels. We like the sound of that!

In case you didn’t know, the man behind all this is Rick van Diepen. He has a passion for Jazz and whisky, hence the name Single Note. And Caol Ila happens to be his favourite distillery. Well Rick, you and Dion can shake hands.

This Caol Ila is distilled in 2008 and bottled at cask strength (53.3% ABV). Let’s see what notes this one manages to hit:

Tasting notes


A lush whiff of rum and coconut, with a good amount of sea salt and vanilla. Dried ham is definitely here too. And when you get used to the initial alcohol burn, there’s great notes of macadamia nuts, papier-mâché and vanilla sherbet.


Salty, and briny as you may expect from Caol Ila. With sweet peat, lots of pineapples and fresh apples


Here comes a crescendo of flavours, salty, fresh and peaty and increasing its pitch into tropical and briny notes of pineapple pizza (sorry pizza aficionados), Indian curry, spring onions and plums. As a cherry on top we get macadamia again which fades into burnt plastic and rubber wellies.

This is a nice and fresh textbook Caol Ila with some interesting twists. Very different from the Oloroso sherry expression, but it bares some resemblances on the meaty part. We’re highly anticipating the next piece in this wonderful suite Rick is creating.