Tonoght I started with a vatting of Black bottle and Lap QC. Next some Talisker and Caol Ila mixed and now some Bunnahabhain all on its own.
I started with a Guinness and then moved on to a small pour of Dewars. I then realized that I have some Caol Ila 12 and it is Friday. I had a small pour. The mouth entry is as sweet as ginger ale and then quickly after is a very dry, ash-like (in a good way) flavor. The sweetness is there in the backround. From Islay I have had, aside from this, Talisker 10 and Compass Box Peat Monster and I liked them all alot. I just always want to have one around. They have to be aged though. I have had Bowmore Legend and McClellands and they just aren't the same.
Enjoying some mid-afternoon drams. Started with Glenkinchie 12, one of my favourites. Bright aromas of orange and lemon. And rosewater. Delicious bittersweet balance on the palate. Oatmeal, strangely. Very full and lasting flavour. Delicious!
Then on to Auchentoshan 12, another Lowland, which is quite fantastic. Such clean malt flavour that I want to call it Longmorn Lite. Very crisp with sawdust and butterscotch on the nose. A hint of smoke on the finish. Subtle and engaging.
Switching gears, I'm finishing up with a'bunadh batch 23. Rich, fruity, cognac-like nose. Thick, oily, buttery in the mouth. Peanut brittle. Intense. No water in this dram. I can take it either way, depending on my mood. A bit funky on the finish; rubber. I'll be sad to see this one go.
Your questions wasn't directed at me, but as I've been drinking Caol Ila and Talisker lately, I thought I'd throw my opinion into the mix. This isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, as the Caol Ila is a cask-strength, un-chillfiltered 8 year-old and the Talisker is a lower-proof 10 year-old (I don't know the extent to which Talisker is filtered).
The Caol Ila is a G & M bottling for Binny's. It is a powerful, almost brutal whiskey, with an initial smell and flavor of bacon/butter, followed by a wave of tasty but one-dimensional peat, and ending with some sweet vanilla. These flavors arrive one after the other -- meat, peat, then sweet. There isn't much integration and none of the individual tastes seem very influenced by time spent in the barrel (maybe the vanilla?).
The Talisker 10 is comparatively subtle and integrated, with more salt, smoke, and what I think is graininess. My palate isn't experienced enough to name every flavor I can taste, but it seems malty/grainy. These flavors are more balanced than those in the Caol Ila, and I'd happily drink Talisker 10 on a regular basis. I feel funny describing Talisker 10 as "subtle," because it's a flavorful, interesting whiskey, but the Caol Ila is a bruiser.
I'd say the Caol Ila has a nicer, oily texture, and a tasty "bacon-ness" I haven't yet found in other whiskies. It's a lot of fun, and for all its aggression, ends with that nice bit of vanilla. The Talisker wins out on sophistication, brininess, and the smooth smokiness.
I couldn't pick a favorite between them. The Compass Box was a while ago. I'll have to try a proper side by side with the Caol and the little I have left of the Talisker.
Last night I started with Whitehorse (which is fast becoming one of my favorite NAS blends, second maybe to Black Bottle). The WH has a nice spicy kick (from the Talisker I presume) but surprisingly little smoke (I want smoke!). After that I had some Talisker 10 which provided the contrast of smoke etc... Last I savored some Laphroaig QC which didn't come off as well as it usually does. Not sure if it was the cold I'm fighting off or just the ordering I selected for the night.