07 Jun 2012
Caol Ila 1980 (Maltbarn)
Posted by: Ruben In: Caol Ila
Maltbarn is a new bottler set up by German Malt Maniac Martin Diekmann. He recently moved into a farm and the attached barn gave him the idea.
He will basically only release whiskies that he really loves himself, not just anything that’s popular. Given Martin’s impressive tasting record of course we’re very interested. Most of the Maltbarn releases will be older drams, simply because he likes them more than younger ones. The goal is maybe 6 or 8 bottlings a year.
The first two releases are a Caperdonich 1972 and this Caol Ila 1980 matured in an ex-sherry butt. Sherried Caol Ila is always something to look out for, as the distillery doesn’t show this character in official bottlings (except for an odd Feis Ile release now and then). Only 66 bottles.
Caol Ila 30 yo 1980 (56,3%, Maltbarn 2011, ex-sherry butt, 66 btl.)
Nose: starts crisp and coastal, typical for Caol Ila, but after five minutes it slightly moves away from that profile and adds lovely sherry notes (raisins, red fruits). Light smoke. Leather and tobacco. Cedar wood. Seaweed. Great to see jammy forest fruits balancing the zesty Caol Ila style. Close to sherried Port Ellen in that respect (think PE1 for instance). Mouth: powerful, oily and quite sweet. Nice sweet tobacco and chocolate. A little fruity sourness too which works very well. Grapefruit. Cherry liqueur. Then the briney notes and liquorice. More peat, a little camphor. Finish: long, peppery, still a perfect balance of sweetness and coastal peatiness.
A great start for this German bottler. Excellent combo of peat and sherry, with typical Caol Ila elements as well as other Islay characteristics. Around € 150. I’ve only seen it over at Whiskybase so far but you can contact Martin Diekmann directly to get bottles as well.