Caol Ila 31 (Cadenhead’s Small Batch 1984/2016) Review

This is a 31 year Caol Ila 31 that was distilled in 1984 and bottled from two bourbon hogsheads at 52.1% ABV in 2016.

Nose: Musty cigarette smoke (not quite bowling alley level, but close), ashy, burnt brush, a bit of blueberry if you dig beneath the smoke. Some old rubber and vanilla emerge after a couple minutes.

Palate: Strong ash, dry oak, peat remarkably strong here given its age, vegetal notes with some more old rubber.

Finish: Very woody here – tastes like you filtered it through some wood chips, some tobacco and vanilla remain.

Rating: 86/100 – Surprisingly strong peat/smoke for 31 years – would be nice if that blueberry from the nose showed up on the palate.

Value for the money: Looks like these retailed around $200ish at release (and can still be found around that at auction it seems). That’s a pretty good price – especially given its age.

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