Showing posts with label 35 Years. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 35 Years. Show all posts

Caol Ila 1983 (Signatory Vintage)

”Close To Perfection” 

Whisky Review # 935

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 1983 (Distilled: 08/11/1983)
Bottled By/For: Signatory Vintage - 30th Anniversary - Bottled: 12/12/2018
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky -  Cask # 5290 - Bottles: 213
Age: 35 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 52.7% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 900-1200 (November 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: ­čśÉ This can't be cheap of course!
Buying Advice: ­čśő Delicious.


Golden Amber (Natural Color)


Today we have something extra-special in the glass and I'm really looking forward to nosing/tasting this 35-old Caol Ila. Well-Matured Islay Malts have something magical on the Nose and this Caol Ila is no exception. The Smoke and Peat are still there of course but they remain quietly in the background and cast their spell on the rest of the Aromas. There's quite a bit of Fruit around and although there are some Dusty notes to be found, the Malt is still mostly lively and fresh. The Wood is not at all overpowering and the Alcohol is wonderfully incorporated. I could smell this for an hour and that's exactly what I'm gonna do!

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, First Class Normandy Butter on Toast, Cake & Whipped Cream, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Toasted Almonds, Smoked Fish on the BBQ with a generous sprinkle of Lemon & Lime, Cold Smoke, Earthy Peat, Dunnage Warehouse, Brine, Dusty Shelves with old Books, slightly Sour Plums, Nectarine/Peach, Green Apple, Fresh Herbs, Cinnamon and Mint.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Grass and Straw, Pine Needles, Wax, Hospital, Tarred Rope, Ash, Tobacco, Leather, Cigar boxes, Pear, Toasted Pineapple, Banana Ice Cream, Nougat, Caffe Latte, Olive Oil, Oak Char, Wood Polish, Wet Rocks and Ginger.


The delivery is Creamy but I would have liked it to be a little bit more Thick and Fat. But that's a detail. The Palate presents a very balanced mix of Bitter, Sweet, Salty and Sour notes with a beautiful Smoke/Peat combo in the background. Love It!

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Quality Normandy Butter, Salted Caramel, Heather-Honey, Apricot-filled Puff Pastry, Cold Campfire Smoke, Earthy Peat, Forrest Floor, Brine, Smoked Fish covered with slices of Lemon and Fresh Herbs, Green Apple, Nectarine, Pepper, Ginger, Aniseed, Licorice and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Grass & Straw (Farmyard), Resin, Wax, Hospital, Ashes, Tarred Rope, Old Polished Wood, Toasted Almonds, Toasted Pineapple, Grapefruit, Cinnamon and Saddle Leather.


Middle-Long. I wished it was longer though. A very pleasant combination of Sweet, Salty, Bitter and Sour notes. Quite Dry in the end. As on the Nose, the cask & spices are not overpowering and the Alcohol is perfectly integrated. It's slightly on the Thin side for such an old Whisky but that would be my only criticism. I find Sweet Barley, Wax, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass, Straw, Heather-Honey, Smoked Fish, Cold Smoke, Earthy Peat, Forrest Floor, Dusty Road, Ash, Lemon, Grapefruit, Nectarine, Green Apple, Dunnage Warehouse, Hospital, Polished Old Wood, Fresh and Dried Herbs, Leather, Pepper, Ginger, Aniseed, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

No Need to add Water to this Caol Ila as the Alcohol is perfectly integrated. But you can certainly add a bit if you prefer it that way.

Rating: 91

Nose: 23.5 - Taste: 23 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Excellent


The Caol Ila Distillery was founded in 1846 and is located close to Port Askaig on Islay. It was bought by DCL in 1927 and through some mergers fianlly become part of Diageo. The distillery was rebuilt in 1974 and only one old Warehouse reminds us of former days. Traditionally, Caol Ila is an important component of Blends like Johnnie Walker, Bell's and White Horse. But during the last 15 years Diageo has made great efforts to position the Distillery as a Single Malt as well. Caol Ila is really beautifully located alongside the strait between Islay and Jura. The Core range includes the 12, 18 and 25 Years, the Distiller's Edition as well as the NAS Moch. We thoroughly enjoyed both our visits to the distillery in 2014 and 2017 respectively despite the fact that you're not allowed to take pictures.

I love well-matured Islay Malt and this Caol Ila is no exception to the rule. It's not quite perfect as the mouthfeel is a little on the Thin side. But otherwise it's a very delicious Whisky. Beautifully balanced with an array of Bitter, Sweet, Salty, Sour & Coastal notes and always that masterfully woven web of mature Smoke and Peat in the background. The Alcohol is perfectly integrated and the cask did a great job. What more could you want? Dollars I suppose! 


Jan van den Ende                                                                     November 3, 2021