Caol ila 1994/2012 sassacaia wood finish (Gordon & MacPhail-Private Collection) 45% ABV

Gordon & MacPhail first ripened this 18-year-old Caol Ila for 10 years in former bourbon barrels, then for a further 8 years in selected ex Sassicaia wine barrels. Distilled: 30.09.1994, Bottled: November 2012, Circulation: 1,100 bottles.


Quite a deep gold in colour, the swirl line on my Glencairn is quite thick, and it drops several thick legs. #thewhiskeychaps


Even at 45% ABV it’s a reasonably strong nose, and first off I’m getting hot mashed potatoes, green apple skins and green grapes. The peat is here but it’s far from face slapping atm. #thewhiskeychaps

There’s a dustiness coming through, and a sweetness, something like cream soda for me. Bakewell tarts, some faint foresty aromas, leaning towards cherries and distant bbq fire. Perhaps tree bark creeping in, with light Virginia tobacco. #thewhiskeychaps

caol ila logo


The mouthfeel is decent for the ABV, and yes the peat is instantly here, joined by old leather, the Virginian tobacco, cherries, cranberries and some gentle spices. The peat is starting to come across like a Caol ila now. #thewhiskeychaps

Slight bitter lemon with time, milky coffee, fudge, some black pepper, Smokey. #thewhiskeychaps


Medium long in length. Warmth does persist nicely, but the flavours fade faster than I’d like them to sadly. #thewhiskeychaps

gordon and macphail logo

My thoughts

I found this whisky to be ok, it’s not a wow dram for me. It has its positives, the ABV comes across higher than it actually is, and the flavours in it are rather nice. On the downside the peat level seemed quite reduced, which is a shame, i’m presuming it’s because of the ABV. Ideally i’d like to try this at a higher ABV, i think it would get a better review from me. Would i purchase a bottle? It has to be a no this time sadly.

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