Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon hogshead
Additional Coloring: No
Owner: J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd.
Average price: € 180.00
Official website: www.cadenhead.scot
It’s not often that I get a whisky that’s aged for so long, and if it’s a bottle from a distillery with a very high average quality like Caol Ila, you can guess that expectations are pretty high.
Coming from the Small Batch series of bottler Cadenhead’s, this is a 1984 distillate bottled at cask strength in 2014 in 144 bottles. There are a number of vintages from the same year in their endless catalogue, some of them with more substantial ageing (from 31 to 33 years), but I would say that for now I can be satisfied with this ‘miserable’ 30 year old, whose photo as you can guess was not easy to find.
Older people need to be given space, the whisky rests in the glass for a long time before I approach it, and I am repaid for the wait. The nose is like velvet, sinuous and elegant, with dark fruit such as dates, cherries and prunes, blood orange, bergamot, liquorice and wood wax. There is a fresher, almost balsamic vein that tinges the aromas, while on the length an impression of a Caribbean cigar humidor emerges. Roasted coffee in the background. Rich and full.
Chilli and cumin make their debut on the palate, a very lively opening (despite its age) that paves the way for an oily and full-bodied, very lively drink, where rougher and warmer citrus notes emerge (bergamot, blood orange) together with impressions of summer woods, leather, berry compote, brisée pastry. And peat, which here embraces the flavours as delicately as a distant bonfire over the sea, with brushstrokes of salt and smoke.
The finish is long, very long, like a bonfire on the beach near the pine forest, biting into blood oranges and nuts, with wood wax.
Elegant, composite, rich, persuasive… a masterpiece of balance and vitality, without smears or excesses of wood, the charge of Caol Ila expressed to the nth degree that demonstrates how a peated malt can be subtle and generous.
Reviews of Caol Ila whisky in the blog:
A&G Rare Cask Selection Caol Ila 10yo
Caol Ila 12yo
Caol Ila 18yo
Caol Ila 18yo Unpeated 2017
Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2018
Caol Ila Moch
Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength
Càrn Mòr Vertical
Dramfool Cola Ali 4
Dramfool Cola Ali 5
Golden Drops Caol Ila 8yo
Gordon&MacPhail Reserve Caol Ila 2008
Morisco Spirits Caol Ila 11yo
Signatory Caol Ila 1994 Port Wood Finish
The Islay Star 11yo
Valinch & Mallet Caol Ila 11yo
Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 2008-2020 Quercus Alba
Reviews of Cadenhead’s whisky in the blog:
Cadenhead’s Arran 22yo
Cadenhead’s Aultmore-Glenlivet 12yo 2006
Cadenhead’s Balblair 8yo Small Batch
Cadenhead’s Ben Nevis 21yo
Cadenhead’s Bowmore 17yo
Cadenhead’s Bruichladdich 22yo
Cadenhead’s Clynelish 17yo
Cadenhead’s Dalmore 18yo
Cadenhead’s Glen Grant-Glenlivet 20yo
Cadenhead’s Glen Scotia 27yo
Cadenhead’s Glenrothes 1997 20yo Small Batch
Cadenhead’s Ledaig 22yo
Cadenhead’s Macduff 13yo 2006
Cadenhead’s Rosebank 15yo