Caol Ila (Cool Eela)

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Not wishing to sound like a boring weather reporter – but it’s yet another cracking day weather wise.   Sun’s up, sky is blue and we’re off to Caol Ila at the north end of the island for their open day. A lovely welcome awaited us- especially when you step out of the laid on bus and the first person you bump into is the distillery manager.    It’s becoming a regular occurence; especially when we bumped into her at the bar last night as well. We’re booked on a distillery tour at 11:30 and the queue for the Feis Ile bottling is as expected queuing into the courtyard.    This year, their Islay Festival  2012 bottling is  a wood sherry butt – 60.4% and it comes in at £85. The tour with Marjory was very pleasant and given the high temperatures outside, the still house and the mash house weren’t exactly the coolest of places.    One thing that annoyed me on the tour was that inside there was no photography.   It’s not as if they’re exactly giving away industrial secrets – they explain the whole process and everyone else is going it.    Strange that Lagavulin, owned by the same company have no concerns about photography.   Having said that – it’s highly automated and production orientated which is to be expected given their throughput.    I just wish they’d relax the photography ban given they have one of the most beautiful still rooms in the world – the view across to the Isle of Jura through the stills is gorgeous – just wish I could take a photograph of it. Anyway at the end of the tour there was two to be sampled – 12 year old and un-peated which was honestly quite nice, but compared to the second taster – a cask strength (58.4%) American and European oak casks bottling it drops down in taste value.     The second is only available at the distillery.   Strange that during the sampling – Smudge takes her samples and then distributes them to the others and then makes on that she’s just finished her dram. A trip to the distillery store and I come out with my hands full with both a festival bottling and a bottle of the cask strength distillery only.   There’s a lovely little boat alongside the quay, and strangely enough it’s called Caol Ila and is owned by a guy called Justin Ruthven-Tyers; an interesting story which you can catch up on here.     Again, some great music laid on and bacon / egg rolls.   After an relatively short trip to Caol Ila we decided to depart, but not before H made her way back to the dramming tent where she loaded up for the run back to the truck – she’s becoming a bit of a Whisky fiend 🙂     Since the weather was still good, we headed to the beach – in particular up at Machir Bay, just past Kilchoman Distillery for a bit of sunbathing and swimming (for the foolish). Yet another cracking day and we end it with a BBQ at the house.    


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