Caol Ila 19 1974 Signatory Vintage (Feather’s Review Set #19)

Caol Ila 19 1974 Signatory Vintage.jpg

So it was my birthday. Since my wife is awesome, she offered to take me to the pub (and take me home! win!) and I could have some drams.

I decided that since I was born in 1982, I should have two drams from 1974. What, does that not make sense? Well it sure as shit didn’t make sense to me either, but here we are.

For my second dram I decided that peat was in order because a) I like peat b) I accidentally ordered a peated whisky for the first one and c) really do I have to explain why I’m ordering Islay anymore? Seriously swing a dead cat on the internet and you’ll hit both a review extolling the virtues of Islay and someone else jerking off to you swinging a dead cat.

So I ordered Caol Ila 19 1974 Signatory Vintage. Brought out in the early 2000s, this is one of a few Caol Ilas that were released from this time, from Signatory. There’s quite a few that I found, making me wonder: What’s up with Caol Ila’s logistics system in the 1970s?

Yeah, that’s what people are wondering, right? Oh? Do they want to know how it tasted? Well, I’ll guess I’ll talk about that instead.

Price: No longer available

Region: Islay

Distilled: December 27th, 1974

Cask Numbers: 12490-92

Abv: 43%

Colour: 10Y 9/6

Nose: Spiced pumpkin soup, grilled melon, white cake, cinnamon

Immediate spice and earth/sweetness. No, no one is eating pumpkin soup near me. Some more char/fruit, some sweetness.

This is sweet/earth forward. If I had to guess, I’d say the balance to the sweetness (perhaps acid or smoke) was left behind maybe? Granted that’s not the case in other lower abv. Caol Ilas, so perhaps this was a single cask sold for that reason.

Maybe just put it in my face and move forward.

Taste: Cola, white cake, mint, peach, cocoa

Lots of ex-bourbon based flavours on this one. Some spice, but again it’s mostly sticking to a mixture of earth and sweets going on. Any peat has gone the way of mint or chocolate, which works together on its own, and helps out the fruity aspects.

Finish: Cocoa, hazelnut, lime cola, fire pit, oak

Ah, there we go. More of the smoke aspects come out at the end, more wood with it, and finally, we’re seeing some of the acidic aspects that make us love Caol Ila.

That said, it doesn’t take a left turn at the end completely. No, it drives up on the sidewalk like grandma used to do. It stays partially with the sweet and earthy, adding in some nuttiness near the end.

Conclusion: A subtle, relaxed sweet Caol Ila. If I was able to see the future, I’d be rich and we’d all be living better and sillier lives. Also, I’d have switched the order. Granted who things that when deciding between a Clynelish and Caol Ila.

What we ended up with was a Caol Ila that works with the lower abv. Which if you follow my reviews you’ll know that I’m not even a fan of a lower Abv typically. In this case, it’s a nice dram to have that is very cocoa and sweet forward. It ends a night without overdoing your sweet taste buds. It’s not as smoky as other Caol Ilas (with the unpeated ones being an exception, don’t @ me).

That all said it has it’s limits. I’d guess that this dram wasn’t moving along as wanted, or gaining as much complexity, so it was lowered and sold off. And that’s okay. This is when something should be 43%.


Scotch review #1060, Islay review #287, Whisky Network review #1651

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