Single malt whisky - tasting notes

18 Dec 2009

Caol Ila 1980 (Malts of Scotland)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: Caol Ila

After the Caol Ila 1998 cask #12374, this 1980 vintage is the second
Caol Ila released by Malts of Scotland. The new one is much older (29 years old) and from a sherry hogshead. Caol Ila of this age is quite rare and sherry matured Caol Ila even more so, which means expectations are high.

Caol Ila 1980 Malts of Scotland Caol Ila 29 yo 1980 (54%, Malts of Scotland 2009, cask #4935, 175 btl.)

Nose: let’s start by saying the smoke is rather light for a Caol Ila. It’s mostly new leather that shines through at first with some fruity notes, like warm apples, tangerines and even chocolate bars with a tropical fruits filling (mango). I don’t think I’ve ever had a Caol Ila with such a tropical side. Lots of spices as well (mint). A bit of paraffin. Just light waves of typical coastal / smokey / medicinal notes. A bit shy maybe, if you’re used to powerful (younger) Caol Ila, but most elegant and very smooth. Mouth: rich and slightly more typical with linseed oil, camphor, grapefruit juice and some pepper, although it stays rather sweet. Much more smoke now. Cherry liqueur. Liquorice. A very slight bitterness underneath the sweet sherry (like pink grapefruit). A few  resinous notes as well. Finish: long, growing saltier and drier.

A very good old Caol Ila with a profile that we don’t see very often. The sherried sweetness works well, and the result is really smooth while at the same time showing the typical Caol Ila power. Very fair price: € 130. Recommended!

Score: 90/100

Caol Ila 1980 (Malts of Scotland) 4 Ruben Luyten 2009-12-18

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  • Roberto Sikora: This is really a great, great bottling. One of my favourite Littlemills so far... :-) Thank you, Ruben for this review!
  • george: i see you have tried st magdalene and say it is harder to find i am a collector of st magdalene and i have 40 bottles i am selling these date from 196
  • sjoerd972: I wish the guys at Bushmills would demand the labels to say "Northern Ireland" so we didn't have to speculate on the booze's origins.

Coming up

  • Bowmore Devil's Casks - Batch 2
  • Tomatin 1988 (Malts of Scotland)
  • Aberfeldy 12 Year Old
  • Blair Athol 2002 (Hepburn's Choice)
  • Fettercairn Fior
  • Bowmore Laimrig 15yo
  • Ben Nevis 2002 (Port cask #334)

1600 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.