Whisky Review: Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 1984 Aged 33 Years

Style: Sweet, Smoky and Complex

Nose:
Fizzling lemonade, slightly salty, stewed fruits and graphite. Lively and surprisingly “round”. Peppermint and rosemary flowers stabbing through layers of fruitiness. Green apples, mangoes and confectionaries forming more beautiful sweetness underneath. Kumquat, seaweed, mineral water and overripe white peaches sitting even deeper at the core. Wow, it feels the depth is simply endless and ever-changing, incredible aroma. A little bit of bacon crisps, sandalwood and assorted pepper at the back. Very complex.

Palate:
Similar to what the nose has suggested, except it is more compact and consolidated. Lemon citrus, vanilla icing, seaweed soda water and peated barley (of course it is) interweaving together elegantly. Peppermint hitting the high notes, baby kumquats, liquorice, prosciutto and violets placed on top of steaming barley. A thin slice of fig jam and white peach gently cooked and smoked in a barbeque stove. Chilli spike, tropical fruit punch, milk chocolate and coconut jelly at the back to finish.

Finish:
Lemonade with a twist of smoke. Bacon and iodine droplets. Maritime and mineral notes lingering on a barley bed.

Thoughts:
We all now know early 80s Caol Ila are pretty magical, but this one is probably on another level. Simply because of its endless complexity is really amazing, which is built upon the perfect congregation of every single element in the spirit. It feels technically the maturation, intensity, peat, expression, distillate, cask and balance have all hit their respective peaks and are orchestrated to put in a majestic performance. Probably you can dock off a couple of points on the finish, but it remains a 3 stars dram in my book.

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

[52.8% Independent Bottling 1984 Distilled 2018 Bottled Aged 33 Years Single Cask Batch 18/062 Refill Sherry Hogshead 216 Bottles Non Coloured Non Chill Filtered ***-]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Gordon & Macphail Caol Ila 1984 Aged 32 Years Exclusively Bottled for La Maison du Whisky

Style: Sweet and Smoky

Nose:
Fragrant cherry pie dancing into the stage, maple syrup bacon and pecans crackling softly on the side. Swooping lower we have a nice layer of earthy peat, peanut butter coating on elegant white flower and peppermint. Vanilla malt cake, brown sugar and red dates forming the base notes. Very sweet. While chilli spice beaming positively. Damp moss with just a touch of honey, seaweed finish. Brilliant aroma.

Palate:
Apples in multiple forms at the front – Toffee apples, overripe Fuji reds as well as a hint of fresh Granny-smith greens inserted in between. Apple cobbler followed by blue berries slotting in underneath. All round and sweet. Vanilla milk in silkiest form, orange citrus and peppermint bringing in some sharpness. Grapefruits infused with smoke. Damp peat and smoked bacon lurking in the backdrop, chilli glowing towards the end. Absolute delicious.

Finish:
Sherry sweetness on a slow retreat, chocolate sauce, malt and peat smoke becoming more apparent over time. Sweet and smooth.

Thoughts:
To be honest, a sweet tooth like me can easily kill this bottle within two hours. Incredible sweetness running wild every sip, yet it is not cloying at all and there are plenty of nuances to discover and chew on. Perfect balance between the sherry, malt and smoke. It feels the spirit is chiseled into an incredibly drinkable form. If I can only drink one whisky for the rest of my life, this is going to be it. As much as I want to give this three stars, but the depth falls just a little bit short on the technical side to get full marks. That said, it is still a top, top drop.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[52.7% Independent Bottling Single Cask 1984 Distilled 2017 Bottled Cask Number 6103 Non Coloured Non Chill Filtered Refill Sherry Hogshead 165 Bottled **+]

-Esmond