In his Bordeaux book, Robert Parker damned this 1981 Cos d'Estournel with faint praise, a score of 84 and an admonition to drink it within four to five years. I thank RMP very much; had he given the wine the score it deserves I would not be enjoying it tonight on my artisan wine budget.
The cork comes out very nicely for a 30-year-old wine, and the color is amazingly dark and saturated. Minimal bricking. On first opening, smells were muted and tarry, but they opened slowly and beautifully over the next hour. Dark cherries, black fruit, spice and a hint of tobacco. On the palate, the wine is also a slow starter but gets better every minute. Now the flavors are expanding on mid-palate and finish. This is a mature beauty. The texture is smooth and smoother. A satiny soft but very long finish. It's hard to stop drinking this wine.
I should add that British wine critic Clive Coates gave this 1981 Cos a much better review than did Parker. Reviews can help, but it's wise to read several and then make your own judgment based on your tasting of the wine.