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Caol Ila – 18 year!

27 Jul

UPDATE: As of 8/4/2009, I have been notified by a colleague that the Caol Ila 18-year is now sold out.

So today, I went on a little trip around the DC metropolitan area and made a couple of stops. I made an interesting find in an unlikely spot!

First stop was at Pearson’s Wine and Spirits on Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington DC. Pearson’s has a very nice selection of every day scotches: Ardbeg, Glenmorangie, Talisker, Lagavulin, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glenkinchie, Cragganmore, and Laphroiag to name a few (view website listing here). The Lagavulin 16-year is probably the best price I have seen it anywhere ($69.99). However, I was unmoved by anything “special” there in the store so I walked away without a new purchase.

I must start this next stop with a little back story. I have been searching for a bottle of Caol Ila 18-year (pronounced “cull eel”) for several months now. After reading about it in Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch, I felt that I would really enjoy a bottle. I soon found out by several proprietors of liquor stores that finding it was described to me as “impossible. You might as well forget about that one.”

Very long story short, if you are interested in this “rare” finding here in the states, you can find it in the Virginia ABC store at the intersection of Lee Highway and Old Dominion here in Arlington, Virginia! As of today, July 26, 2009, they have five bottles left at $66. They also have their 25-year Caol Ila on sale for $159 or so.

Caol Ila reminds me of Laphroiag with a little less smokey Islay flavor and a little more sweet. Don’t get me wrong–the Islay smoke is there, it is just not upfront like Laphroiag or a Lagavulin. Also, the 18-year trumps the 12-year Caol Ila (which is a lot more common) by a large leap, though they share many of the same characteristics. The body is medium-rich and the finish is very long and delightful. The potency of the alcohol is very nice and not overwhelming at 43%. Many authors describe this whisky as an aperitif, but I would actually prefer it as a great nightcap.

If this strikes your fancy, check them out or give them a call! (703)875-0129,+LEE+HIGHWAY&sll=38.89673,-77.09512&sspn=0.012191,0.019205&ie=UTF8&z=14&iwloc=A&ll=38.908333,-77.118101&output=embed
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