Whisky Connosr

Caol Ila 1978 / 23 Year Old / Rare Malts

Tropi-caol Ila

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@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

4th Feb 2018


Caol Ila 1978 / 23 Year Old / Rare Malts
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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The Rare Malts Selection saw the light of day in 1995 by the Scottish Malt Distillers, the precursor to Diageo. Initially it comprised releases from the ’70s, ‘80s and ‘90s distillates from mostly closed distilleries and they were 18 years of age at least. The series lasted 10 years and was then replaced by Diageo’s yearly Special Releases. Thanks to Chris Lauriers – Belgian whisky ambassador par excellence – I am able to try 8 in a row. Allow me to start with this 23 Year Old Caol Ila 1978 that was released in 2002.

Ooh, the nose is very fresh and clean on all kinds of citrus fruit – with candied lemon in a starring role – with lots of grasses and some tiger balm. It flirts with tropical fruit, making it somewhat atypical, but very charming. The peat does not even play second fiddle and offers the footlight to all the fruity, sweet characteristics of this Caol Ila. I am a fan already!

It is surprisingly sweet and fruity on the palate as well, but now ashed and soot kick in, as does some salt. Lovely spiciness on black pepper, nutmeg and liquorice. The fruit becomes even more tropical than on the nose with citrus, mango and a hint of pineapple. At it does not need water at all.

The long finish brings some sweet smokiness.

Delicious Caol Ila from which most of the peat was matured out (is that even English?), making it something of a fruit bomb. Thank you very much, Chris, for the generous sample!

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