Caol Ila 12 Year Old

70cl / 43%
  • Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Distillery Bottling
Caol Ila 12 Year Old
Web Exclusive Price £45.75 £38.13 ex VAT (£65.36 per litre)
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Customer Rating

Caol Ila 12 Year Old is of medium weight, but still packing plenty of potent phenols, this is a refined, powerful dram with a compensating oiliness. A balanced, peaty beauty..

Distillery Bottling
12 Year Old


  • Body
  • Richness
  • Smoke
  • Sweetness


  • Vanilla Vanilla
  • Pear Pear
  • Brine Brine
  • Tar Tar
  • Smoke Smoke
  • Toffee Toffee

Caol Ila 12 Year Old Reviews

Tasting Notes

  • Tasting Notes by the Whisky Exchange

    • Nose:

      Intense and rich, with malted barley and gentle floral touches overcome by smoky notes.

    • Palate:

      Light and fresh, with toffee, vanilla and pear balanced by smoke and ashy touches.

    • Finish:

      Complex and long, with sweetness fading to leave dark and smoky flavours.

  • Tasting Notes by Rocky

    • Nose:

      An intensely rich nose of Shreddies and toffee with hints of violet. When left in the glass for a minute or two, smoky bacon notes were also apparent.

    • Palate:

      Fairly light in texture with notes of toffee, vanilla and pear joined by a hint of ash on the very back palate.

    • Finish:

      Light in intensity, but not in complexity. The sweeter notes from the palate end fairly quickly, leaving a delightful subtle finish of ash, tar and light peat.

    • Comment:

      Another excellent whisky for those who don’t like their Islay too peat-heavy. I tried this with some Cashel Blue cheese and as has been proven many times before, peated whisky and blue cheese are a match made in heaven.

  • Tasting Notes by Dave Broom for Whisky Advocate

    • Comment:

      Funny to think how recently Caol Ila was an Islay giant that was kept pretty much under wraps by its owner. These days it has cemented its reputation as the island's Mr. Consistent. This version shows its character the best, a nose that mixes seashore and grass with a distinct hint of smoked bacon. The peatiness isn't dominant, but flows through-out the palate, scenting, lifting and subtly changing the mix. A delicious oiliness makes it a great food whisky.

    • Score:

      89 Points

84 Customer Reviews

  • Add Your Review
  • 1
    28 September

    Smoky and peaty tastes throughout, leaving it almost medicinal. Not for me.

  • 4
    17 February

    A very good dram, one to enjoy slowly. It has a very nice finish. Nice to relax with and take it all in.

  • 5
    26 January

    Wonderful! A perfect balance of smoke and sweetness. So light and dry it's almost ethereal. Faeries have just danced on my tongue!

  • 2
    24 December 2018

    Bought this one after a friend recommendation and... Jesus it is bad ! I am big fan of islay single malts, but really, this one is not for me. The nose is already badly balanced with a hint of fruits and then Peat and Tar overpowering. The attack is smooth with gentle banana I guess, and then again peat. Reminds me of the Laga 8 yo, which is all about peat as well, really not my cup of tea. I really like when it is peaty and smoky, but it has to be well balanced, complex like the lagavulin 16yo, ardbeg Corryvrekan, Springbank 10yo, Laphroaig triple wood for instance.

  • 5
    2 December 2018

    I bought This 12 year old from Edinburgh airport. 43% alcohol. Very balanced taste. Smell excellent very smooth. I enjoyed it very much. Recommended for smooth single malt lovers.

  • 5
    5 October 2018

    Fresh vegetal peat. Lovely smoke. Sweet and savoury. There is definitely a gasoline/oil/bitumen thingamajig going on and it makes it great. Medium bodied and nice to drink up at one go or with some resting in the glass. The aromas that remain in the glass are divine and diverse. Vanilla, smoke... Try it. Great for sharing

  • 4
    15 September 2018

    I enjoy a peated malt, especially Laphroig, and I found this quite delightful. It is not overpowering but still packs a punch. Notes of Toffee, spice, vanilla and floral develop into a nice balanced smoky finish. I would definitely buy this again.

  • 5
    14 July 2018

    The olfactory effects of this fine Islay offering elicit fond memories of working with various coal fired steam locomotives. It is my favorite.

  • 5
    4 July 2018

    The first taste is sweet Caramel and then comes an oily-ness and subtle Peat, and then an antiseptic burn which is a light numbing that mingles disconcertingly with an disinfectant nose that takes getting used to. A fine creamy sweetness of that Caramel at the finish, all the flavours and smells of smoke and Caramel are well defined and separated. Clearly a complex 12 year old and classically Islay. Smoother than Lagavulin and none of the brute force of a Laphroaig. Great value.

  • 1
    20 May 2018

    I'm reading reviews which have 5 star assessments and wondering if I just sampled a counterfeit COAL ILA 12 last night at a friend's table. I strolled into the kitchen with my wife on the pretence of going for a smoke and for the first time in my life I washed a whisky away down the sink.

  • 5
    13 May 2018

    Lovely! Very sweet perfumes as if in Paris! Overwhelming smokey taste spreads in to entire breathing. But the perfume when you first opened the bottle is ahhh... Thanks to my son for it.

  • 5
    9 March 2018

    Just into my 3rd dram of this over the last 3 nights. To me it's an incredible whisky, the nose is very good but the palate is where it all happens.. On the nose a slight salty brine with wonderful banana and pineapple sweetness and just a subtle hint of peat. On the palate, so smooth and complex, hints of toffee, vanilla and sweet ripe fruit with a hint of ashy peat floral, honey and bubble gum. Well done and one of my new favourites. Do yourself a favour and pick yourself up a bottle.

  • 1
    13 February 2018

    Is there something wrong with my bottle or does this whisky really have no body whilst leaving a chemical aftertaste? I love peaty whisky and found Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Talisker all way superior to this.

  • 5
    29 December 2017

    Excellent price, quick delivery and good customer service. Very impressed and would order from again.

  • 5
    1 December 2017

    Smooth and smokey at the same time. May not be as rich tasting as a Lagavulin 12, but well worth the price tag. Love it.

  • 5
    24 November 2017

    The whiskey I rate all others against.

  • 5
    17 November 2017

    That strange distinctive smell of something like antiseptic cream or tcp haha but to taste it’s a beautiful mix of sweet and fruity with a punching smoky finish. Toffee and ash are the two main properties for me but I’m still learning. Perfect balance.

  • 4
    1 October 2017

    When I first tasted this my overwhelming impression was of disinfectant. After persisting I got used to it and started to like it. Having now just found a quarter of a bottle in the back of the cupboard (must be at least a year old) I am really quite enjoying it. I shall have to get some more Islay's to compare.

  • 5
    10 September 2017

    Wonderful dram. The Caol Ila 12 leads with classic Islay peat, earth, and smoke. However, the whisky is not as peated as an Ardbeg or Laphroaig. But it's definitely still an Islay. In addition to the earthiness and peat of this dram, there is a definite sweetness. I can taste pears as well as vanilla in it. This is a must have for peat lovers.

  • 2
    23 July 2017

    yeah, caol ila12, the malt may be the the island's mr. consistent, but diageo, the owners of the malt have sworn to keep their consistency about reducing the quality of fine malts. Chill filtered whiskes DO taste thinner and less than the non chill filtered ones. Those who dont believe this, get any chill filtered malt and a non chill filtered one and have both side by side, and you will note the difference.

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