Caol Ila 1984 16 year old (Connoisseurs Choice)

Bottle: Standard issue G&M Connoisseurs Choice bottling. Mauve label.

Nose: Wonderfully fragrant yet salty. Smells like perfume on sweaty skin almost. Musk, sandalwood and dried seaweed. Hot damn!

Body: Medium and silky

Palate: Burnt sugar initially, then spicy & herbaceous, medicinal tones fill the palate. Lastly, a pleasant, gentle peat lift finishes the mouthful in a very fitting way. The whole thing is quite chewy and moreish.

Finish: Long. Very nicely balanced wood and smoke. The medicinal thing keeps running, cocoa powder at the very end. A little sour and dry but in a good way.

Neat/Ice/Water: I can already tell this one is neat but let’s do it anyway… Actually, hold on, this is pretty darn decent iced as well. The sweetness goes up a few notches and it gets a really nice mineral, gravelly note to the body. Like fading popping candy. The herbs and medicine recede a little. It’s a subtle but interesting metamorphosis I have to say. Glides down with a bit of ice but it does trim the finish as well. This is a tough one so I’m swinging both ways tonight (so to speak).

Verdict: Superior. This is a cracking dram I have to say. The nose is unusually good, the mouth is satisfying and deep in layered flavours. The finish long and involving. This is a sipper you could spend some time with (neat) or a very savory quaffing dram (iced). Love it. Picked it up at auction alas so not readily available but not wholly unobtainable either. Worth searching out if you like an Islay malt that’s not death by peat with a strong character.

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