Whisky review: Caol Ila Aged 25 Years 1978

Style: Spicy and Smoky

Coal fire incinerates and gives a slight bitter, deep and sooty start. Feeling damp as well after it is given a good maritime brush. Fiery spice peaks and pinches in quite early in the form of hot chilli oil. Then the other facet of Caol Ila shows up – lemon confectionaries, floral rims and a bit chalky. Orange blossom and a dash of brine. Sea side mineral rocks, spice continues to rumble and pierce through towards the end.

An explosion, much more than just a small burst, of flavours and spice takes place as it strikes the palate. Lemon citrus, chalks, minerals and smoke are compressed and strapped onto the powerful chilli spice bazooka. Crushed liquorice roots, lime cordial lightly drizzling onto orange sponge cake. Abundant but velvet peat gradually infused with chocolate oak and creates a deep but bitter-ish base notes. Sweet aloe vera and smoked kelp lingering towards the end.

Lemon bars, malt biscuits with a touch of smoked bacon. Quite sweet and tantalising.

Similar to its Rare Malt cousins in the same era, this OB cask strength Caol Ila 25 is also packed with ultra-firepower. Raw, explosive and overwhelming at times which makes me think this is definitely not for the faint-hearted. However, inside its relentless, steely cannon shell, rests the beloved Caol Ila DNA which is elegantly sweet, dimensional and complex which sings gloriously as it attempts to navigate through the deafening waves.

☆ [Recommended]

[59.4% | Original Bottling | 1978 Distilled | 2004 Bottled | Limited Edition | Natural Cask Strength | *]