When I received the 13 year old Highland Park, bottled by the cool chaps at Master of Malt, I also received a sample of their new Caol Ila 30. I was quite happy with both samples as both Highland Park and Caol Ila are favorite distilleries of mine (I have a lot of those, though).
I liked to taste this one a bit more, since there have been some affordable Caol Ila 30’s over the last two years which turned out to be good, but not great whiskies (One by the Bladnoch Forum and one by Specialty Drinks Ltd, called Port Askaig).
The first thought in my mind was ‘is this 30 years old?’. It smells a lot younger than that. Lots of light smoke, quite grassy and milky. A little bit musty, oily and a hint of salt. All in all a very nice and typical Caol Ila nose!
The taste is quite peppery, with some peat smoke. The alcohol is pretty prominent, but never annoying. I find it quite briny, with sea weed, sand and again, a hint of saltiness. It tastes like the beach, which is nice.
The finish surprised me with hints of chocolate I didn’t see coming. A lot sweeter than I expected, but not a bad surprise. A quite long finish which also reminds me of a Dutch dairy product called ‘Milk and fruit’.
Nice! A Caol Ila that never diverses from the distillery’s staple character and flavours, but it still surprised me with some unexpected tastes in the finish. I actually like every bit of the scents and taste, but it is not one of those drams you never forget.
Still, a cask strenght Caol Ila at 125 euros is a very fair deal. Especially when the 25 year old distillery bottling at 43% is a lot more expensive, and I didn’t like that one at all!
Caol Ila 30, 1980-2010, Master of Malt, 57.4%, available at Master of Malt for € 125,-
Overal experience: 8
Total: 31 points