Single malt whisky - tasting notes

13 Jul 2012

Caol Ila 1981 (Thosop)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Caol Ila

Although this Caol Ila 1981 was obviously distilled in the current (rebuilt) distillery, its style is said to be reminiscent of the smaller, demolished distillery it replaced in 1972. It was bottled last year by Thosop in their series with handwritten labels.


Caol Ila 1981 (Thosop)Caol Ila 30 yo 1981 (50,6%, Thosop 2011, bourbon cask, 153 btl.)

Nose: nicely coastal and medicinal, as expected, but smooth and quite fruity at the same time. Lime and banana. Some sweet almond milk. Linseed oil, hints of flax. Menthol. Soft vanilla. Complex nose, which gets sweeter and more fragrant over time. Excellent. Mouth: very oily now with quite some leather. Then medicinal notes, a few leafy / herbal hints, camphor and briney notes towards the end. Overall less rounded than one the nose, more peat, iodine and zesty lemon. There’s some banana in the background but I’m missing a bit of the fruity notes here. Finish: long, ashy and peppery. Still a leafy / earthy edge and brine.

As expected, good Coal Ila with an excellent nose. It’s nicely assertive and relatively peaty. Around € 125 which was a very good price. I think there are still a few bottles out there. Thanks for the generous sample, Stefan!

Score: 91/100

Caol Ila 1981 (Thosop) 4.5 Ruben Luyten 2012-07-13
  • Guest

    Where can I find this bottle or any website available for order? Thanks!

  • WhiskyNotes
  • Guest

    Thanks for your prompt reply- the first one is selling at a double price!!!
    Btw compare to Benriach 1980 Virgin American Oak finish, which one would you prefer? And i find there’s a slight different for the available stock in market VS the one you tasted before…
    Are these actually different? or just because the batch is different? (ABV also different)

  • WhiskyNotes

    The Coal Ila is a Belgian bottling with very high demand. There are still some bottles in Belgian stores but not the ones that ship abroad, I’m afraid. It’s normal that prices go up when stocks are low.

    The BenRiachs are two separate casks, surely they won’t be 100% the same. They’re sister casks so probably very similar, but I’ve only tried #2532 so I can’t tell you how big the differences actually are.

    As to which one to choose, I’m afraid they’re not really comparable. One is a peaty Islay whisky, the other one is a very spicy and fruity Speyside whisky. It’s like telling someone whether they should choose strawberry or chocolate ice cream, I can’t make that choice for you without knowing your preferences. Good luck!

  • Roberto Sikora

    Great, great one I think! With this one I´ve had a lot of fun with my friends. They thought at first nosing it was a Lowland Whisky :-) Now that is opened a few weeks it becomes more and more Islay! Thanks god and thank you I´ve bought two bottles at the time!

  • Bart

    funny, I came in to this shop who doesn’t sell online. What do you know, 2 bottles of this on the shelf for 125 euro each. Didn’t hesitate for a second!



November 2015
« Oct    

Coming up

  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1933 notes by Ruben

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