Single malt whisky - tasting notes

07 Jun 2012

Caol Ila 1980 (Maltbarn)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten 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 1980 MaltbarnCaol 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.

Score: 91/100

Caol Ila 1980 (Maltbarn) 4.5 Ruben Luyten 2012-06-07
  • Andreas Schätzl

    Hi from Munich!

    Any possibilty to contact Martin Diekmann without the way over Outlook?



    P. S.: Great, your site – love to look at it almost every day!

  • WhiskyNotes

    You want to send over a pigeon? ;-)
    Sorry, I don’t have his phone number or postal address, and his website is not ready at the moment.


    you can find his phone number and email-addi there:

  • samdave69

    Sweeeeet stuff. I love the Cail Ila’s esp the 18 yo which is getting more and more difficult to find (esp in Kenya).
    Loving your site mate.

  • Andreas Schätzl

    thanx for the infos, GUEST!

    Ruben, as for the pigeon: too many cats here around – some of them flying quite good

    cheers, Andreas

  • Oggela

    Seems like a good whisky! I ordered the Caperdonich 1972 Maltbarn and I´m hoping it´s a good one. Looking forward of reading your review of that one.

    (Ruben, you have mail regarding samples!)

    cheers Fredrik (Oggela)

  • Pingback: Caperdonich 1972 (Maltbarn) | WhiskyNotes()



December 2014
« Nov    

  • SK: And just to prove a point, all of the bottles are still available in places where they usually run out. Lets see how many will be still available whe
  • SK: 2 years ago I tried the Caol Ila 1982 from Archives. What a fantastic whisky. Since then I always try to stock these Caol Ila from the 80s. Sadly no
  • WhiskyNotes: The real problem is that Caol Ila isn't selling (mature) casks to independent bottlers any more, from what I've heard, so chances are low we'll see mo

Coming up

  • Inchgower 1975 (Maltbarn)
  • Octomore 6.3 258ppm
  • Peated Irish 1991 (Eiling Lim)
  • Ardbeg 1974 for Christmas
  • Spirit of Freedom 30 Years
  • Elements of Islay Cl7
  • Benromach 5 Year Old

1681 notes by Ruben

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