Caol Ila 1982, 51.6%, 500th Bottling – The Ultimate

According to their website The Ultimate has been at it for 19 years now. They’ve released 500 bottlings since then and since they sell almost everything in The Netherlands, that is quite a feat. The proper way to celebrate is to bring out a stunning bottle for that occasion.

Anyway, by now I think the whisky fanatics out there have realized that when it comes to old peated Islays you don’t necessarily need Port Ellen. And for the price of one Port Ellen you can generally buy three to four Caol Ilas of the same age. My choice would be made instantly. Let’s see if this one keeps up the good reputation!

Caol Ila 30. 500th Ultimate bottling

Caol Ila 30. 500th Ultimate bottling

A very gentle scent of a lot of smoke. It’s oily and has some custard and straw too. Some vanille, but not too much (thank God, getting tired of all those vanilla bombs). It has quite some depth. There’s also some tobacco and oak.

The palate is surprisingly sharp for a 30 year old whisky that was this gentle on the nose. Smoky, vanilla custard, milk, lemon cordial, wood, cigars and cigar boxes. It also has straw and hay, grass and some dried flowers.

Now it gets more gentle again. It’s warming and a lot less smoky than on the palate. Oak, warm vanilla custard and apple crumble. Pie dough.

This is a really great whisky. Period. There is a lot happening and it’s very consistent throughout tasting it. There’s not too much vanilla and a lot of typically Islay flavours. I would have expected it to be a bit more salty though. If I had this kind of budget, I would buy it.

There we get to the sore spot of this one. The Ultimate is known for their very affordable whiskies. You pay € 60 for a 17 year old cask strength sherried Longmorn, € 50 for a 46% 20 year old Highland Park, also sherried. Those kind of prices. I can’t help feel that this one, at € 180 or so is no longer in the ‘affordable’ league but out there with the other bottlers. I think it’s very risky for them if they lose that edge.

Anyway, even for € 180 this is a great whisky. I wish I had the money at this time, since I think this will sell out quickly. And rightly so.

Caol Ila 1982, 55.2%, 500th Bottling, The Ultimate, Hogshead. Available at Slijterij Zonneveld at € 182.50 (before 10% discount if you’re an Usquebaugh Society) or € 180 at Whiskybase.

Thanks to Rob Stevens at De Whiskykoning for a sample. Strangely I don’t see it in his shop.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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