Firkin Islay: Caol Ila 2010 whisky in custom marsala cask 48.9% ABV

firkin whisky

Founded by Mike Collings, creator of Johnnie Walker Blue & Green Labels, The Classic Malts, Rare Malts to name but a few, Firkin Whisky was the result of some creative thinking over a few drams in a Tokyo bar.

All Firkin whisky is matured in custom casks. Every cask is different because of its maturation location and type of wood and cask. Each whisky is re-casked into a firkin custom double oak that was seasoned with a soulmate wine.

firkin whisky

Firkin Whisky create unique double oak barrels using 2 types of oak & mature the whisky in a soulmate wine cask.

The first type of cask is American oak from first-fill Bourbon. The second is new Limousin oak with a custom char.

Master coopers combine the 2 types of oak into 1 barrel. The result is a cask with a unique oak profile. Firkin Whisky also matches the single malt with a fortified wine that accentuates and polishes the whisky & gives a real depth of flavour.


This ‘Firkin Islay: Caol Ila 2010 whisky in custom marsala cask’. 48.9% ABV and natural colour & NCF. This batch is limited to 325 bottles.

Appearance: Honey, pure honey. Nice and oily, good legs

Nose: After the pure jam sweetness of the marsala cask, the smokiness of this bursts forward! Also, smoked meat, BBQ sauce and sticky ribs. There’s also a fair bit of fruitiness in this one too, once you acclimatise to the smoke. Is smoked jam a thing? If not, I’m patenting it! Burnt bacon, like, really burnt (a good thing!)

Palate: The palate is quite fiery. Fully of spice and chilli heat. There’s an underlying heat that, I assume, will reveal itself more after a few sips. The second sip onwards reveals a real fruitiness. It’s that smokes jam again, but even more evident than on the nose. Funk. There’s funk. This dram is complete now.

Finish: The finish completes the cycle from smokiness with a hint of fruits to fruity with a hint of smoke. Oh, and a touch of black pepper too!

Overall: This one was the sample I cared least about if I’m honest. It is, however, superb. I’ll definitely have a bottle of the port and probably this one too now! You know what, with the last few sips, this one may have taken the crown tonight?!

Firkin Islay: Caol Ila is available at TopWhiskies for £69.

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