CAOL ILA™ DISTILLERS EDITION™ Single Malt Scotch Whisky, distilled in Islay, has taken the top Single Malt Scotch Whisky honours at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition, whose results were announced on 28 March.



After three days of judging against dozens of single malt Scotch whiskies, it was awarded the accolade of “Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky”.

This stylish, richly flavoured and complex expression of Caol Ila has  –  after many years maturation in oak casks  –  been double-matured in dark Moscatel caskwood, hand-selected to complement the whisky’s sweetly fruity, smoky intensity.

Caol Ila™ Distillers Edition™ is not new to expert praise. It won Gold – Best in Class at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2009, Gold at the International Spirits Challenge in 2009 and 2010, and Gold at the Scotch Whisky Masters in 2010.

The supreme “Best” award, won this year by Caol Ila Distillers Edition, is given after an extensive multiple-round judging process running over three days.

The limited number of bottlings that qualify for a Double Gold Medal (which happens when the judging panel is unanimous in its assessment of a Gold Medal award) may, if the judges unanimously agree again, progress further to compete for honours in a wider super category.

This “super panel” of judges then re-assess the selected Double Gold winners with a view to deciding the “Best of” category awards: a process that takes the better part of the final day, nosing, tasting, evaluating and voting the best of the best in each category.


Notes to Editors

About Caol Ila™

Caol Ila Distillery is one of Diageo’s 28 Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distilleries and is the largest distillery on the Isle of Islay. It was established in 1846 near Port Askaig on Islay by Hector Henderson, and borrows its Gaelic name from the sea sweeping past its dramatic and almost secret location, squeezed tight between the steep cliff and the sea, hard on the eastern shores of the Sound of Islay with its fast and challenging currents. It was a spot originally chosen in 1846 partly because of the fresh water which still provides its main supply, rising from limestone in nearby Loch nam Ban, then falling to the sea just behind the distillery.

As a Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Caol Ila has enjoyed huge popularity and success since its relaunch in 2002.

Caol Ila is distributed in many markets in four complementary expressions in addition to the Distillers Edition™:

–        a 12 year old, that has won numerous Gold Medals including most recently the supreme prize, the Trophy for the best single malt whisky under 15 years old at the IWSC in 2010. It also won Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2009, Master at the Scotch Whisky Masters 2009, Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2010 and Master at the Scotch Whisky Masters 2010.

–        An 18 year old.

–        A Natural Cask Strength expression (with no age statement).

–        Moch [Gaelic for Dawn] – a new expression with no age statement, recently launched for the Friends of the Classic Malts

Enthusiasts have also enjoyed the unusual unpeated 8 year old and later 10 and 12 year old expressions of Caol Ila, figuring regularly among the annual Classic Malts Selection Special Releases.

About Caol Ila™ Distillers Edition™

Each Distillers Edition expression undergoes a second (or ‘double’) maturation in casks that have previously held a fortified wine.

This extraordinarily stylish and complex expression of Caol Ila has been double-matured in carefully selected Moscatel casks. The wood is not over-evident and instead balances perfectly with this richly flavoured single malt.


APPEARANCE : Clear gold

NOSE : Wonderfully concentrated pure, clean Caol Ila – peaty and medicinal, with rich fruit, spicy and fragrant. With water, the fragrant smokiness comes singing through.

BODY : Medium.

PALATE : Sweetness and maltiness strike first, then are quickly overwhelmed by peat smoke and intense, clean, crisp flavours. The signature smoky bonfires are here, and build to quite a size. Overall, drying, in a beautifully balanced, complex, elegant development, complemented with cinnamon spice.

FINISH : Long, rounded, robust and multi-layered.

About the San Francisco World Spirits Competition

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition, now in its 11th year, is the oldest, largest, and most recognized spirits competition in the United States. Entries were evaluated by 33 spirits experts from noted restaurants and hotels, well-known spirits journalists from major US media, spirits buyers, and spirits consultants. Judging is based on a blind, consensual procedure ensuring competitive integrity

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