Single malt whisky - tasting notes

19 Mar 2010

Caol Ila 1969/1986 for Meregalli

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: Caol Ila

The Caol Ila distillery underwent a major renovation and upgrade between 1972 and 1974 and reopened with an increased number of stills (six instead of two). Pre-1974 Caol Ila is a must-try if you ever have the chance.

I had the chance to compare this with the Caol Ila 1969/1984 (G&M for Intertrade) (WF96) and although I agree that one is better, I don’t think the difference is very big.


Caol Ila 1969/1986 G&M Meregalli Caol Ila 1969 (54,6%, Gordon & MacPhail for Meregalli 1986, Celtic label)

Nose: a sharp kickoff with quite a lot of alcohol. It takes some time before it’s tamed. Rather mineral. High on wet carton and wet dogs. Distant smoke. Lemon juice. Oysters. Very medicinal as well, with iodine and disinfectant. With a few drops of water it becomes slightly flowery and when warmed up it even shows hints of white chocolate and thyme. Impressive complexity. Mouth: first there’s a wave of lemon juice. A second wave brings loads of smoke and ashes. A third wave is much sweeter with marzipan and marmalades. Some coffee. Really excellent and superbly balanced. Finish: sweet with salty notes, smoked tea and cloves, Very long.

I won’t say much more about this bottle. It’s simply a great old Caol Ila.

Score: 93/100

Caol Ila 1969/1986 for Meregalli 5 Ruben Luyten 2010-03-19
  • http://blog.thewhiskyexchange.com Tim F

    Caol Ila is definitely in my top 10 distilleries, and this sounds absolutely awesome. I’m preparing a feature on old Caol Ilas, but don’t think it’ll have anything as far back as this – great work Ruben, I’m jealous :)

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  • Tony: Well the 1401 batch 8 could be found easily in most places for £200 - indeed I got one for £180 with a discount. The £225 price was a bit high and
  • WhiskyNotes: Don't just look at the UK - it's not always representative for the rest of the world. The last 1401 for Europe was batch 8. I bought that one for €
  • Sam: Nicely written notes, not rated this myself yet. Just to confirm, it's nowhere near a 40% price rise though. The last 1401 released in the UK was at

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1659 notes by Ruben

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