1984 Caol Ila "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength 33 Year Old Islay Single Malt Whisky (750ml) SKU #1298484


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Tasting Notes

What's left in this post-Pappy world of whiskey that's actually worth your hard-earned money and not simply priced according to market scarcity, pop culture desire, and a point-driven collector hysteria? When it comes to purchasing casks of costly, three-figure bottles of booze for our K&L customers, we've very, very picky because there are few occasions where we feel that an entire barrel of expensive malt whisky is worth shelling out for. This is one of those occasions. The magic of Islay's Caol Ila distillery has been shaped, forged, and concentrated for 33 long years inside this very special cask of Old Particular, bringing forth one of the most decadent whisky experiences we'll have the pleasure of offering you this year. The nose carries with it the very essence of Islay: brine, bogs, wet earth, peat, salt and the sea, all mingling slowly and methodically through the glass. The palate is instantly soft and supple, but at 51.9% it kicks into gear mid-way through and unleashes a wave of ocean spray, sweet barley, smoke, tar, soot and freshly cut peat that still shines through despite more than three decades in wood. While we might normally reserve this type of offering for the holidays, we had to grab this rare edition while we had the chance. Gone are the days of legendary casks like this, which is why costs for 30+ year old Caol Ila generally hover in the $400-$700 range. Hence, don't miss out on this one; it's worth every penny of the price.

Staff Reviews

  • Joe Manekin
    By: Joe Manekin
    K&L Staff Member
    Wowee Zowee! This is as close to perfection in a single malt as I have tasted in a long time. There is something about good, older Caol Ila that, delicious as it is, I find nearly impossible to put into words. If you have not yet had the opportunity to taste older Caol Ila, to experience the interplay of honey, salt, and subtle smoke, that coat the palate and stick around for minutes, you really ought to splurge for this bottle. And if you are familiar with the magic that is older Caol Ila, then you don't need much convincing. This has my highest recommendation.
  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    K&L Staff Member
    We've been lucky to find some great old whisky over years, the best values for very old blue chip malts are coming from Caol Ila. With that said, price on the stuff have skyrocketed in the last couple of years. And while this may represent a stupendous value compared to the rest of the market, we didn't buy it simply because we could sell it for a comparatively good price, we bought it because it's DELICIOUS! The vibrancy and intensity of flavor on the nose is out of control. The crystalline character is unmistakable, but please give this one some time as some air truly provides some incredible changes. The nose is all lemon oil and subtle oyster shell, yet something rich and creamy behind those classic Caol Ila notes. Bits of seaweed, hints of old leather, and camphor burning under the camping stove. The palate is straight up ashy, bold and textured, smoldering pipe tobacco with sweet lemon peel and juicy salted covered fruits pulling back the freshness as it coats the back of the throat. It's a great old sooty lemony beast. A true expression of Islay.
  • Andrew Whiteley
    By: Andrew Whiteley
    K&L Staff Member
    Old smoke. It's one of my greatest pleasures in Scotch. While this whisky is surprisingly fresh for its 33 years, it has the undeniable hallmark of extra aged peated whisky. The smoke is so mellow and textural. There is a touch of iodine on the nose, but it's taken a back seat to the honeyed notes of dulce de leche and a deeply roasted cafe cortado. The salt spray of Islay is readily apparent. Roasted grain lingers on the finish intermixing with a fine layer of delicate ash. Fabulous. If you're looking for a fine gift for yourself or a lover of decadent peated whisky, this is a perfect bottling.
  • Andrew Stevens
    By: Andrew Stevens
    K&L Staff Member
    Coal Ila is one of those distilleries that is simply magical in my books. When it is young it can be a little overwhelmingly Islay for my taste, and I am someone who drinks a lot of Islay Scotch. However, unlike some whiskey, when it gets up there in age especially north of 30 it becomes some of the best whisky I have ever tasted. This bottle of 33 year old Coal Ila has not lost anything, rather that age has brought all of the notes from this amazing distillery into balance. Seriously, all of the punchy brine and smoke from here has finally come together and brings such complexity, elegance, harmony, and finesse that I can only think of what I originally stated, it is magical.
  • Jeffrey Jones
    By: Jeffrey Jones
    K&L Staff Member
    This bottling is lively and is not too old . The age has helped integrate all of the flavor components and to provide some concentration.With this Caol Ila, you get what you want from a single malt from Islay. In the nose there are notes of brine, sea and smoke that are complex and seductive but not too heavy. In the mouth it is bright and rich with malt flavors that are fruity and there is some smoke to complete the picture. With small touch of water, the aromas and flavors all soften up a little.
  • Ryan Woodhouse
    By: Ryan Woodhouse
    K&L Staff Member
    Wow - I've never been disappointed by an old Caol Ila and this one certainly continues that trend. There is (was) something truly magical about this distillery. The whisky seems to have a haunting elegance on the palate and yet so much intensity of flavor. Here the smoke is intertwined with sea foam, wood shavings and a very subtle iodine hint. The malt fills the palate with intense flavor and aroma and yet it's almost ethereal in texture. If some of the big, heavily sherry-influenced whiskys of the world can be compared to rich, ripe, highly extracted Napa Cabs; then this Caol Ila should be likened to a finely structured Burgundy; it possesses no less intensity or power but expresses it in a very different way.
  • Jason Marwedel
    By: Jason Marwedel
    K&L Staff Member
    I must admit - my liquor cabinet at home is probably smaller (and more boring) than any of my colleagues' here at K&L. At home we enjoy the very occasional cocktail, and on a big night, I might indulge in a glass of Armagnac, Calvados or Single Malt. Upon tasting this tremendous 33 year old Caol Ila, I am completely rethinking my game plan. This bottle absolutely WOW-ed me! Subtle notes of citrus and saline, lead to a supple palate of barley, antique wood, peat smoke and cinder. You get plenty of intensity and spice on the palate, yet it comes across in such an elongated and elegant fashion. This is a really special bottle, one that needs to make its way into my liquor cabinet...soon.
  • David Driscoll
    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.


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