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1984 Caol Ila 34 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)

SKU #1387600

No distillery is more representative of the state of the Scotch industry than this bewitching peater on the northern coast of Islay. The excellent shoreside stills have dutifully cranked out unbelievably delicious peated whisky since 1846, but it wasn't until the malt floors were closed and the distillery began buying barley from the Port Ellen maltings that the current house style truly solidified. Caol Ila is known for their 12 Year Old in the US, but a huge majority of the spirit gets blended into the Johnnie Walker line. While the line has become slightly more available in the last few years, it still remains pretty elusive, especially in a significantly aged form. The last distillery on Islay where ultra-mature stocks are not in the $1,000 range, but they probably deserve to be. The spirit is impeccable and easily one of the most undervalued malts in Scotland. Oftentimes when we lament the loss of the old great peater Port Ellen, we're reminded how lucky we are to have the beautiful beast that sits just north of Port Askaig. A 34 Year Old PE would easily cost you $1,500. Of course, whiskies of that age are always extremely rare, but this Caol Ila represents some of the most valuable stocks. The standard 30 Year Old, which is not available in the US, easily fetches over $500 in Europe. This single cask, nearly a half decade older than that, offers one of the best values for old Islay anywhere in the world. Absolutely no old peater offers as much luxury for your dollar.


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Price: $375.00

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Staff Image By: Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/14/2018 | Send Email
This cask aged very well. The positive aspects of long aging are apparent. It is lively and delicious. The nose has aromas of salt and smoke that work well together. In the mouth it is soft and concentrated with a creamy mouthfeel. The smoke and salt and a sense of place come through. It is enjoyable without water but a splash of water opens this selection up.

Staff Image By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/13/2018 | Send Email
I literally said the words, "holy sh*t" under my breath when I first tasted this special cask. Now we're no strangers to old Caol Ila —in fact we seek it out like blood hounds. Why? Because it's one of the only old Islay heavy hitters that has been available at semi-reasonable prices. Well, at least up until now. All but this one very special source have dried up or are becoming so prohibitively expensive that they effectively don't exist in our world. It's true that last year we bottled a sister cask to this one and for $25, but this whisky is in a whole other league. That's not to imply that last year’s special whisky was a slouch by any means and the appreciation this year is relatively minimal compared to other casks. Stocks similar to the '83 Signatory 30 year we bottled 5 years ago (retail $300) would now retail for at least $1000. Old bottles from that same period are still selling around the world for around $700. If you're lucky you might find the bottler’s current release in Europe for $500+ and if the distillery releases a 35 Year, it will command upwards of $1000 as well. But this whisky is more than just a good deal. It's an absolute star. The first moment the whisky hits your glass you're blasted with massive billowing smoke. As it aerates it begins to offer some more nuance—lemon skins scorched in a pile of burning spices, the embers of a fire on an Islay beach—the smells of the bay, dried seaweed, and fresh peat burning in homes over the hill. On the palate this thing just about cuts you in half. Sooty bold peat, oyster shell, brine, tangy lemon rind, ashen embers of expensive incense. The finish is long and lingering. Too long to calculate as it forces another sip. Normally I'd recommend avoiding water on something this old, but the beast can handle it. With just the tiniest drop of water, the whole package coalesces. Salted fruits, cured meats, smoked salty fish, high end nori, sweet Meyer lemon. On the palate the water actually brings the oily texture out, revealing an almost thick mouth feel that coats every taste bud and drowns it in sooty sea spray and sweet citrus. An absolute star that probably deserves to be much more expensive, but I hesitate to anoint it with the term “value.” Just too good to be ignored.

Staff Image By: William Beare | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/11/2018 | Send Email
Attention lovers of peat: line up and hold out your glasses! Drinking this beautifully aged Caol Ila is like stepping in to a meat smoker for a light nap. The age here is not so much adding the overt sweetness found in other well-matured peaters, but instead a savory, meaty richness to the healthy dose of smoke you get right at the front of the palate. The salinity comes in similar barbeque fashion-- like a salt-cured rack of pork ribs, lightly coated in a sweet and spicy honey glaze. In the typical line-up of Islay scotches, this Caol Ila stands out in a beacon of light. Fascinating, exotic, and deeply pleasing to drink.

Staff Image By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/11/2018 | Send Email
"Buried how long?" Almost 35 years. "You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?" "Long ago." My personal tastes for whisky have changed dramatically over the years. I've at times found myself going gaga over loaded sherry bombs, exalting the finesse of delicate drams, and seeking out the peatiest of peatys. One thing that has been a constant over the last decade of my Scotch drinking life is my affection for well-aged smoke. As heavily peated spirits age the intensity of the smoke falls away into richness and body. It's a particular and special characteristic that cannot be counterfeit or short cut. This specimen is a perfect example of why it is so compelling. I'm not saying this isn't a smoky whisky, it certainly is. It's just also so much more than that. The smoke has become a rich and oily slip'n'slide of flavor. There is a slight brine characteristic to it, not iodine, but a lighter kind of salinity. Sweet malt marries perfectly with a bit of tangy BBQ sauce. The freshness of fruit, once readily apparent in this whisky's younger days has developed into a rich tapestry of salted and cured fruits. A refilled hogshead was undoubtedly the perfect vessel for this whisky, tame enough to stand up to many long seasons in the warehouse, and rich enough to make sure that this whiskey, after many long years in darkness would be "recalled to life."

Staff Image By: Jackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/6/2018 | Send Email
As a casual drinker of Caol Ila, I was very much looking forward to trying this dram and it didn’t disappoint. Classic Caol Ila honeyed smoke on the nose, much like a slow smoked honey ham, followed by a little peat, green apple, and sweet soy sauce at the end. The palate mirrored the smoked honey note I got on the nose but also included pencil shavings, charred strawberry, and a hint of brine. That brine became more noticeable throughout the finish, pairing with a sweet note that reminded me of salted caramel just not quite as….caramel-y; add wood and a nice fruity note and it’s a wrap!

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Malt

Country:

Scotland

Alcohol Content (%): 50.1