Wow this is shocking. My experience has been YES the laddie is that good. I don't care for the 10 year old too much myself with the 15 being sort of pedestrian when compared to the better expressions.
The 17 year old is fairly good (and from what I understand current releases contain whisky that is actually about 19 years of age). I also found the new cask strength and Golf Links (I think 14 years old) to both be decent. If I had to choose, using price vs. finished product, the one bottle I would want to stock is the cask strength.
Now the 1970 I found to be astounding but as mentioned so was the price, as in astoundingly high! This was one of the best if not thee best whisky I have tasted in my short drinking career. I'd shoot somebody for a couple of bottles of this!
I found the Murray McDavid bottle that was out about 2 years ago to be very interesting particularly the Islay influence was more prominent than with the standard bottles I've been through.
The 1973 is good, in the same neighborhood as the 1970 as far as price, but I'm less attracted to sherried drams (which this contained more sherry influence) so I preferred the 1970 by comparison. Matter of personal taste there.
As far as caramel being added, I thought the distillery was chateau bottling with abosolutely NO