Review – Douglas Laing XOP 35yo Caol Ila.

This is an independent bottling from Douglas Laing & Co. Specifically from their XOP (Extra Old Particular) range.

Caol Ila is most definitely a workhorse distillery with an output of 3.6 million litres a year so it is little wonder so much of it falls into the hands of Independent bottlers and under different names and guises.

I’ve never been the biggest of Caol Ila fans, don’t get me wrong I don’t dislike it but I can take it or leave it.

Let’s have a look at the oldest Caol Ila I’ve tried so far.

Caol Ila, IB (Douglas Laing XOP), 35yo, 47.1%abv, cask no: 10594, from the sample box.


The nose is mildly sooty with a touch of ash. There are some tangy coastal notes mixed in with some citrus pepper as well as a slight oaky dampness and some pencil shavings.

The palate is very soft, tempered yet tangy sea spray mixes with faint smoke. There is a slight white wine style of crispness here, green apples perhaps. There is a honeyed sweetness, perhaps even a touch of powdered sugar. Underneath a meaty, honeyed ham base note there is a slight minerality.

The finish has creeping peat smoke which is subtle and soft. There is a very perceptible creaminess with something I can only describe as a salted spearmint. Soft, deep and tangy flavours linger for quite some time.

Hands down the best Caol Ila I have tried.

I fear this particular bottling appears sold out. They do however have a 33yo Caol Ila which is priced at £349 and is available here.