Caol Ila from the early eighties is almost always a good idea. Today I taste one bottled for the Bladnoch Forum, making it sort of a predecessor of the current bottlings by Whiskybroker.co.uk.
Caol Ila 1980/2010 (53,3%, Bladnoch Forum, C#4684)
Nose: This is really fresh and fairly fruity with a sweet edge. Heather and wet grass with a touch of licorice, but also green apples, bananas and freshly cut pears. Some cotton candy and salted caramel as well as a touch of acidity. Ultra soft wood smoke, really gentle. Clean and crisp. Pretty close to being perfect. Taste: A nice, oily mouthfeel. The wood smoke is much more prominent here. The peat is clearly present as well. A hint of rubber, as well as salt, pepper and ginger. Oak-y, close to the edge. Not much left of the fruitiness. Too bad. Finish: Long with lots of smoke and spices.
So little smoke on the nose (which is epic), yet so much on the palate. At least in comparison. It’s no Octomore (not even close), let that be clear, but the difference between the nose and the palate is remarkable. This is nitpicking of course, since I feel this whisky warrants a 90 point score, but if the palate had followed along the path of the nose then this would’ve been a truly great Caol Ila.