Caol Ila 2010

Around 85% of Caol Ila’s spirit is utilised in the blending industry and therefore does not have the same lavish core ranges and releases as some distilleries with this capacity. Out-with the core range, single malt expressions can be found from some independent bottlers, however these are often fairly young. This cask is into its eleventh year of maturation and was re-gauged in January 2021 at 56% ABV, meaning it does not need to be rushed to bottle.

Auction estimate: £12,000 – £14,000

Auction has ended. The winning bidder has been notified.

Cask Details

DistilleryCaol Ila
RegionIslay
Age10 years
Distillation DateOctober 7, 2010
Cask TypeHogshead
Peated?Yes
Re-gauge ABV56.00%
Re-gauge Litre of Alcohol (RLA)118.00 litres
New Bulk Litres210.70 litres
Re-gauge DateJanuary 2021
Bottles301

The Wood

Caol Ila’s spirit lends itself particularly well to ex-bourbon cask maturation and like most Scotch whisky the majority of the distillery’s maturation takes place in this type of oak.

Diageo’s extensive portfolio and large market share means they have a vast selection of ex-bourbon casks to choose from, including from the Bulleit and Crown Royal distilleries.

Due to the volume of spirit produced at Caol Ila and the fact that Islay is a very small island, most of the stock is matured on the mainland of Scotland. The influence of sea air in maturation in Scotland is not limited to the isles: on the mainland, whisky is never more than 40 or 50 miles away from the ocean.

The Spirit

Caol Ila uses the same malt specification as the similarly Diageo owned Lagavulin distillery, but the secret to Caol Ila’s spirit being lighter in profile is a combination of several elements during distillation and fermentation.

Tall stills, combined with Caol Ila’s unique method of only filling these stills to around 33% capacity during distillation, increases the reflux and reduces the heavy phenols in the final new make spirit filled into oak. The Lyne Arm of the still has a slight downward angle which gives the spirit its incredible oily mouth consistency. Longer fermentation time (up to 120 hours) also accentuates Caol Ila’s spirit character, which offers a softer smoke compared with some other Islay distilleries.

The Masters

The road that winds to Caol Ila passes by a row of small houses then cambers down towards the sea relenting a spectacular view of the Sound of Islay, a narrow strait that separates Islay from Jura. For many years these houses have been the home of distillery workers, including four generations of the Stichell family.

Billy Stichell was the distillery manager when this cask was filled on the sunny Thursday 7th of October 2010, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great grandfather who all worked at Caol Ila. To celebrate this historic feat, when Billy Stitchell retired in 2013 after 40 years service, Diageo honoured the family by releasing the Caol Ila Unpeated Stitchell Reserve. This cask provides an opportunity to purchase whisky made with four generations of experience at one distillery.

The Verdict

Around 85% of Caol Ila’s spirit is utilised in the blending industry and therefore does not have the same lavish core ranges and releases as some distilleries with this capacity. Out-with the core range, single malt expressions can be found from some independent bottlers, however these are often fairly young. This cask is into its eleventh year of maturation and was re-gauged in January 2021 at 56% ABV, meaning it does not need to be rushed to bottle.

The current renovation of the distillery visitor centre is part of Diageo’s £150 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism, evidencing the importance of Caol Ila within Diageo’s extensive portfolio.

Tasting Notes

N/A – No sample was made available.

About The Distillery

Caol Ila is the Gaelic name for the sound of Islay; the channel of water that separates Islay from Jura. Caol Ila itself is a touch milder in style than its local counterparts. A fresh grassiness mixes with seaweedy notes, nicely mimicking the blending of hillsides and rocky beaches to be found around the distillery. Despite being smoky, this is a malt that does not feel uncouth to drink even at more delicate hours of the day. A cool morning on Islay, dew on seagrass and mist rising to reveal the outlines of the Hebrides – that’s an atmosphere where Caol Ila feels at home.

Buyer’s note: We cannot offer a photo of this cask due to the regulations on Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations that are imposed in the warehouse.

Questions?

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Auction Details

  • Bidding will end on June 6th at 5:00pm BST subject to continuation defined below.
  • If any bid is received within the last 5 minutes of bidding across any of the current auction listings, the entire auction will be extended for an additional 5 minutes. The auction will officially close when a period of 5 minutes has passed without a new bid.
  • All bids represent a legally binding contract to purchase the designated item.
  • The highest bidder at conclusion of the auction will immediately be charged a £500 deposit by credit card; the remaining balance will be due within 72 hours of auction close by bank wire transfer.
  • Failure to send proof of payment within 72 hours will result in a penalty of 1% of the hammer price for each day the payment is delinquent.
  • Upon verification that all funds due have been received, ownership of the cask will be transferred to the buyer and the buyer will be sent a title certificate. As per Scottish regulations, the cask must remain in a government bonded warehouse until bottling.
  • No samples will be provided during the auction.
  • If two bidders place a bid in the same amount, the first bid placed will be the winner.
  • Storage will be included for a period of 3 years from the conclusion of the auction. All other costs related to storage, removal from storage, insurance, transportation, bottling and duties/taxes will be the sole responsibility of the buyer.
  • A reserve price has been set for the auction. If the reserve price is not reached then the seller, in their sole discretion, can choose whether to accept the high bid or may offer a counter offer. All bids placed by buyers are binding, even when the reserve price has not been met, until the seller declines the highest bid.
  • A 10% buyers premium will be added to the highest prevailing bid. No buyers premium will be due if the reserve price is not met and the seller choses not to accept the high bid.