Dun Eideann is a sub-brand of Signatory Vintage, and they bottled this Caol Ila 1974 for their Italian importer Donato back in 1996. A number of sister casks in the #124xx and #125xx series have been bottled in other series from the same bottler.
In 1974 Caol Ila had just reopened after having been rebuilt for two years (with the typical glazed curtain walls) and extended from two to six stills. As you know, these special moments can produce special whiskies. In general you could say that pre-1972 Caol Ila is heavier than the cleaner, lighter spirit produced from 1974 onwards.
Caol Ila 21 yo 1974 (43%, Dun Eideann 1996, cask #12592, Donato Genova)
Nose: very mineral, more austere than later Caol Ila production. This was the time when Caol Ila wanted to mimic Port Ellen and it shows. Stones after the rain, flints, grassy notes, wet leaves, hints of kippers and brine. Also fresh apples, white pepper and hints of camphor. Not too wide, but really classy.
Mouth: starts with a hint of sweetness (still on apple peelings) alongside round lemony notes, grapefruit, medium peat and similar maritime / medicinal notes. Hay. Hints of paraffin, mint and pepper.
Finish: long, leafy, ashy and maritime, with a hint of slightly sweetened tea.
A great Caol Ila, kind of a cheaper (less hyped) alternative for Port Ellen, but certainly on the same level. Rarely seen in auctions, or elsewhere for that matter. Many thanks, Johan!