Complete Guide to Scotch Whisky
Caol Ila Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Caol Ila Distillery, Port Askaig,
Isle of Islay PA46 7RL Scotland
Tel: +44 (0) 1496 302760 / Fax: +44 (0) 1496 302763
Viewer's Comments about Caol Ila

Caol Ila is the Gaelic name for the Sound of Islay, which separates the island from Jura in one of the most remote and beautiful parts of Scotland's West Coast. The distillery is situated on the shores of the Sound, a spot originally chosen in 1846 partly because of the clean water from Loch Nam Ban, which still provides its main supply. And even today you can still watch the seals in the Sound from the still room.

When you sip this tempting, easy-drinking malt, well, at first you’d know you were in Islay – but you might not know where. Well-known whisky writer, Michael Jackson, pinpoints the smooth, olive-like house style, calling Caol Ila™ ‘a wonderful aperitif’.

Sniff the air over a glass and smoky, sea-fresh aromas recall an age, not so long ago, when fishing and cutting peat were the traditional occupations in these parts. Few men make a living cutting peat on the island today, but the old traditions live on in the skills of our distillery workers and in the ingredients they still use at Caol Ila.

‘Caol Ila™ has remained undiscovered by many. However, its deserving rise in popularity saw the release of three new age statements in June 2002. This malt is a fantastically balanced Islay with juniper and wet grass/light salt fish subtleties.’ David Broom, whisky writer and expert.

Caol Ila is owned by Diageo.

Courtesy of Caol Ila Distillery


Caol Ila 12 Year Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky  


Launched in June 2002, this is a highly prized, hidden gem that continues the traditions of Caol Ila™.

Strength: 43% ABV

Appearance: Pale straw.

Nose: Subdued, citric fruitiness; a whiff of bath oil and dentist's mouthwash. A fresh and appetising nose, with little or no trace of smoke. A little water raises almond oil and old-fashioned oilskins; still a fresh fruitiness (lychees?), a trace of olive oil, and after a while pot pourri or scented hand-soap.

Body: Firm, smooth, light to medium.

Palate: Drinks well at natural strength; sweet start; pleasant, light fragrant smokiness and a lengthy finish. Smooth, pleasant mouth-feel; with water light acidity, some salt and still the sweeter notes. A complex balance of primary tastes.

Finish: Sweet smokiness in the lingering, slightly sour finish.  


Caol Ila 18 Year Islay Singl e Malt Scotch Whisky  

A wonderfully balanced Islay malt from an increasingly popular distillery. If you haven't discovered Caol Ila™ yet, this hidden treasure will show you why it’s in increasing demand.
Caol Ila summary Description title Descriptiion

Strength: 43% ABV

Appearance: Pale straw.

Palate: The taste starts a little sweeter than the 12-year-old. Very pleasant, light-flavoured smokiness. A complex balance of primary tastes.

Finish: Sweet-smokey, lingering finish.  

Caol Ila Distillery
Caol Ila Distillery / Courtesy of Caol Ila

Caol Ila Distillery (pronounced 'cull-eela') is situated on the north eastern shores of Islay, with magnificent views across the Sound of Islay to the spectacular Paps of Jura. For more than 100 years small coal-fired “puffers” (boats) like the SS Pibroch brought barley, coal and empty casks to the Caol Ila distillery, returned with whisky through the sound that divides Islay and Jura. Although the 'puffers' no longer exist, the barley is still malted locally at Port Ellen and the pure spring water still rises from limestone in nearby Loch nam Ban.

That tradition has passed. And other changes have taken place – like when the old distillery became outdated and was replaced by a new, £1 million building in 1974. Craftsmen faithfully reproduced the six stills from the original design to ensure the distinctive quality of Caol Ila™ remained.

Of course, not everything has changed. The barley used here is still malted locally at Port Ellen and pure spring water still rises from limestone in nearby Loch nam Ban, then falls to the sea at Caol Ila in a clear crystal stream, just as it always has. Their offspring is a fine-ageing malt reserved in oak casks for up to eighteen years.

Talk of offspring brings us to the descendants of generations past who keep traditions alive. Billy Stitchell is the manager of the distillery and has worked there for years. As did his father, both his grandfathers and his great-grandfather – their unbroken line is proof that traditions matter round here - all the more valuable, now that eleven men do work once done by thirty-two.

The result of their craft and skill is an easy-going single malt whisky of dry, sea air aromas and pleasing smoky-smoothness. Anyone who visits this magical island soon finds that Islay is home to some of the great malt whiskies. Caol Ila™ is certainly one of them, whose discovery is one of life’s great pleasures.

Tour times for 2010:
Tour costs £6 and includes a complimentary Caol Ila tour glass and entry into Lagavulin distillery.

15th February - 2nd April:
Monday-Friday 1330-1630 with a tour at 1400 and 1515

April - November:
Monday-Friday 0915-1700 with tours at 0930, 1045, 1345, 1515

November - December:
Monday-Friday 1330-1630 with a tour at 1400 and 1515

April – June:

1330-1630 with a tour at 1345 and 1515
June – October:
1000-1630 with tours at 1045,1345 and 1515

Premium Tour and Tasting - Tour costs
£10 - Every Monday and Friday at 1045 from Monday 5th April - 1st November. Booking advisable Children under eight are welcome but are not permitted into production areas.

Tour of the distillery followed by an instructive tasting of some of the whiskies in the Caol Ila range.

• Taste some of the finest whiskies on the planet, in the best location on earth.

• Explore the difference between peated and unpeated whiskies

• An opportunity to taste our distillery only bottling

• Join us and raise your glasses to the Paps

Visits must be booked in advance and are subject to availability.

• Booking is advisable but not essential
• Parties of 10 or may enquire for availability out with these times/days
• Children under eight are welcome but are not permitted into production areas

Contact Us
Caol Ila Distillery,
Port Askaig, Isle of Islay
Tel: +44 (0) 1496 302760
Fax: +44 (0) 1496 302763
Email: Caol Ila Distillery

Site Operations Manager: Billy Stitchell

Courtesy of Caol Ila Distillery

Comments on this Whisky                                                      page 1 of 1
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Patrick Stone
Posted 4276 days ago
I play the piano at a bar in Denver, Colorado called Charlie Brown's.. One night a generous patron gave me a bottle of 18 year. Everyone at the piano got glasses and we all toasted Islay and took a drink.....What a surprise! It tasted like we had been beemed to a Scottish Island 200 years in the past. Everyone agreed we could taste the smoke and peat with a sweet fruit flavor.... I quickly corked it and put it under my bench. I now savor it when I am alone at home, looking at Rocky Mountains off my back porch.
The Calibrated Tongue
Posted 4616 days ago
If peety scotch is your medium, this one is pure HEAVEN! The best of the lot. Sweeter and more flavorful than Lophraig and Talisker, which also are excellent.
Craig Sharpe
Posted 4814 days ago
I have probably tasted at 40 different scotches in the last 12 years. My favorites have been Islays. After having a bottle of the Caol Ila 12 year old, I think that I have finally found the "Holy Grail" of Scotch.