Spirited Adventures: Caol Ila

As the weather cools and we head into the heart of autumn, I find myself called back to the warm embrace of scotch. I’d spent most of the summer cooling down with mojitos and the occasional Pimm’s cup. Now it’s time to pull out the sweaters and watch the leaves turn. For the first scotch of the last quarter, I’ve selected Caol Ila.


For those acquainted with Islay scotches, Caol Ila presents with the peaty tones typically associated with scotches of the region, but doesn’t knock you over with the brusque greeting one might associate with the mighty Laphraoig or even Lagavulin, my professed favorite. Instead, Caol Ila offers restraint and balance. Imagine, you’re fumbling in the dark and you hear a familiar voice that softly says, “Over here,” and offers you a hand. You stretch your hand out to find hers except her hand that you cannot see is 43% alcohol. The point is that when unlike your old friend, Laphroaig, who slaps you on the back, Caol Ila takes your hand gently but with all the complexity and power of an intelligent and beautiful girl, but will take the edge off a hard day like you’d expect a good single malt to.

The subtlety of Caol Ila is apparent in her light blonde color. She looks good in a glass with a single very large ice cube (how I prefer scotch). A very smooth drink, she’s perfect for an autumn evening before old man winter sends his minions reminding you of the harsh winter ahead. Save those days for something more direct.