By: David Driscoll
K&L Staff Member
Every time I'm able to track down an old barrel of Islay single malt, I wonder to myself: "Is this the last one?" I remember in the case of Port Ellen, perhaps the most famous of Islay rarities, we were able to do one last cask at $500 a bottle. But when the prices jumped up over $1000, I said "forget it." For some reason, perhaps because of the availability or the lack of general awareness concerning the distillery's greatness, I've been able to dig out an ultra-mature barrel of Caol Ila about once every two years and negotiate a price that makes sense. This particular Caol Ila whisky, a 33 year old distilled in 1984, is one of the better expressions I've found in some time. It's still fresh, lively, and brimming with Islay character. Supple on the palate and lifted on the finish, it's everything an peated whisky lover could ever ask for. It's luxurious, complex, and utterly beautiful from start to finish. Given the current market forces at play, it's also quite reasonable in price. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. The older I get, the pickier I get about my purchases (ironically in a market where one can't afford to be picky). This is as good of a single malt as we'll sell this year. Trust me - there's nothing on the Scotland schedule for the rest of 2017 as awesome as this 33 year Caol Ila.