Caol Ila 31 Year Old 1983 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Signatory Cask Strength Collection) / by Jason Hambrey

31 years; Sherry Cask
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Caol Ila (Port Askaig, Scotland)

Some of these old Caol Ilas are absolute beauties. This was matured from November of 1983 to Febuary of 2015.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: Cask 5298

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Here we have an interesting mix, and age has certainly transformed this one. Light rancio, oak embers, dried peach, dried mango, plump currants (as in cooked oatmeal), custard, and some nice oaky earthiness. Again, not overly peaty – much of the minearlity, smokiness, and marine character of the peat is quite muted.

The palate turns out a bit better with the nose, with some good quality peaty ash and burning embers playing the primary roles, with light dried fruit and oak besides. The finish is tannic with peat, spice, and some good minerality , earthiness and light custard. Beautiful mouthfeel. Some brilliant oak at the end.

The cask, it would seem, hasn’t done this one too well – it all feels a bit flat – the cask, it would seem, may be tired here. I say this partially because the older Caol Ila’s can be among the best and I’d always be eager to try them.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). It’s a good whisky, but I was a bit dissapointed. There are some fantastic old Caol Ila’s out there, and this one isn’t bad, but you can do better.

Value: Low. For me, 300$ is the price of my perfect whisky, and I don’t like buying whiskies generally over 100$ unless they are really good. This one is nearly double 300$.