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Thursday, 9 October 2008

1966. What happened then? Something great. And it wasn't football related!

Back in the day when the proprietors were Bulloch Lade & Co, before the distillery was closed in 1972 and rebuilt again (re-opening in 1974), this Caol Ila arrived on earth. After 17 years of knocking about in a cask, watching on as its parent was swallowed up into major drinks company after major drinks company, it was eventually bottled by Cadenheads and sent out on to the mean streets of the 1980's. A time when distilleries were closing down at an alarming rate and when blends were all that mattered. Let's see how this mid-1980's release fairs in todays palate:

Caol Ila - 17 YO -Cadenheads Bottling - Distilled Feb 1966 - Bottled Oct 1983 - 46% Vol - 70cl

N- Big hit of peat. This is unmistakably Caol Ila. I was given some and not told what it was, but the pre-face lift personality of this distillery still shines though in the nose (unlike human face lifts!). However, there is much more to this than the modern day Caol Ila. There are tinned pineapples in syrup, a touch of mango. Stuff you would expect from those good Bowmores. You know, the really expensive ones they do now-a-days! Personal to me, or any other Norskmen reading: there is a real smell of my Morfar's boat house in Norway, (up in Hodneland on the Western Coast of Norway just North West of Bergen). All tar, wood and leather constantly drying and encrusted with salt. A touch of dry fish (cod). Really well layered and lovely to nose.

P- On the palate you get a sharp hit of smoke followed by damp shammy leather, a slight bitterness. Vanilla creme. A light palate and not as salty as I expected from the nose.

F- The palate moves into coffee and dark chocco. Medium in length with enough legs left after all these years to warm your heart and leave you glowing.

O- This is a whisky from a different era. Production methods may be "better" and more refined, but there is something about this era of drams that, I'm sure not as well produced from a scientific point of view, retains character. Bags of character. Like in old films when people are driving cars. The special effects are not as good, but the acting can be out of this world.