Caol Ila 12 Year Old

70cl / 43%
  • Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Distillery Bottling
Caol Ila 12 Year Old
Web Exclusive Price £43.35 £36.13 ex VAT (£61.93 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

    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.

    89 Points

60 Customer Reviews

  • Add Your Review
  • 1
    26 March

    Undrinkable. Way too chemical. Big disappointment

  • 5
    9 March

    For my money this beats the Ardbeg 10. It's comparable to the Lagavulin 12 but half the price. But I actually prefer this. A super whisky which seems to be getting better while the Taliskers, Ardbegs and Highland Parks disapear up their own NAS.

  • 4
    2 March

    Looking at the Tasting Notes from The Whisky Exchange and Rocky, I get the malted barley (Shreddies) nose and the smoky notes. On the palate, for me, a mixture of salty and smoky. Didn't get the toffee and vanilla notes but maybe just a hint of pear. Finish was, again salty and smoky. None of this means I didn't like it. Out of the Islays I've tried so far, my personal favourites are Ardbeg 10 (more than Uigeadail) and Lagavulin 16. Didn't get on with Laphroaig 10 - too medicinal TCP for my nose or tastebuds. This one, I'd put close to Lagavulin 16 or Ardbeg 10.... but not quite as good.

  • 4
    28 February

    Very peated on the nose, light vanilla undertones with some floral notes dancing to and fro. The taste is equally complex, light but with heavy notes of toffee and vanilla with a very distinct peated counterpart. however i dont get fruit. The finish is down right amazing, the start of it has reminisce of it spyeside counterparts (sweet and honey) all blending and becoming a very tasteful ashy, tarry and lightly peated finish.

  • 2
    17 February

    Got this for a Christmas present. High expectations, but both myself and my wife found this to be not to our taste. I hate to say it, but it seems almost undrinkable. Reminiscent of creosote (on the nose), and leaves a bad chemical aftertaste. Is it possible we have a bottle of something which isn't actual legit, or are we the exception, as the other reviews are very good? I like most of the other Islay Whiskey's and have even been to the Island to visit the various distilleries, many years ago. So what gives????

  • 5
    15 February

    A very smooth and peated dram which is both easy to drink and rich in flavour.

  • 5
    11 December 2016

    Exotic product with bit sweetness..

  • 3
    4 November 2016

    Not a bad whisky by any means.. great amounts of peat smoke coming through and a touch of sweetness to balance.. the only thing stopping me giving this more stars is a slight sicky taste.. Butyric acid on the palate.. I know others have found this in other whiskys too.. may just be a bad batch but it just really puts me off personally.

  • 5
    5 October 2016

    An amazing dram for those who like a little medicinal, mild peaty note and includes a blast of woody smoke.

  • 5
    12 August 2016

    An excellent blend of smokie peaty, single malt scotch. A slight hint of fruit, toffee, and seasalt on the palate and a pleasant smokey finish.

  • 4
    16 May 2016

    "Nose" (undiluted) Gentle peat. Still smoking, charred beach wood and a sweetness, grassy with a hint of seaweed. "Palate" (undiluted) Salty, cold orange pekoe tea, light peat notes, and smoke. Think branches piled for a small beach-side fire. Not overpowering. Salted cod too. "Finish" (undiluted) Tart apple, tangy green seaweed, and the final note is salt. Heavy salt.

  • 5
    4 May 2016

    Is there such a thing as a bad Islay malt? People tend to dismiss them as either too smokey, too pungent or medicinal. If you love your single malt as I do, you will recognize the subtle differences between different whiskies. This goes for Islay as well as all other regions. Laphroaig typifies the style and can be brutal but oh so rewarding. Bowmore combines the same ppm level of peat with sherried fruitiness. Caol Ila is far more subtle with a lighter body than others. It's hard to imagine something so light in color can be so big in flavor. On the nose it combines wheat with peaty smokiness. On the palate you taste fruit, peat, malt and nice briny saltiness. There is a slight oily texture. The finish is medium to long with the fruit fading fast and the peat and salinity lingering. Great stuff especially if you like variety in your whisky like I do.

  • 5
    8 April 2016

    Wonderful hit of smokey baconly seaweeds and sweetness that can be enjoyed by itself but for full heavenly experience conjoined with blue Stilton is just unbelievably delicious!

  • 4
    16 January 2016

    This was a whisky that grew on me a lot. At first opening, not being used to a peaty whisky, I found it a bit full on. But after a few drams it settled down on the nose and palate and I was able to enjoy to its full genius.Let it sit in your glass for a good ten minutes to allow the complexities to develop and enjoy the smoky bacon, and dare I say it, sticking plaster aromas come gently towards your nostrils. The tasting was light and oily in texture, with a short finish and it is beautifully balanced between the bitterness of smoke with the sweetness of ripe pears. Vanilla, puff pastry, bramley apples, sultanas, brown sugar, sea salt, light as a feather... oh my word, the taste stayed with me for days afterwards, returning seductively, beckoning me back. I shall miss this one , until my next bottle of course...

  • 5
    4 January 2016

    After treating myself to a bottle of this, it has become one of my new favourites. A good starting point for those looking to try something slightly peaty, but still very smooth and easily drinkable.

  • 5
    1 January 2016

    A great tasting whisky for any special occasion

  • 5
    21 December 2015

    Only coming a close 3rd place next to Talisker and Lagavulin. Great wee dram!

  • 5
    14 December 2015

    Highly recommended Islay unpeated whisky. Personal taste note: This is better than most of the 15 yrs old scotch.

  • 5
    25 September 2015

    A very very good whiskey, lots of great notes. Rich in flavour and a tad rich on price. I would of liked to give 4 1/2 stars but can''t.

  • 5
    2 March 2015

    Exceptional. Right from the nose, it goads your chi to press on. I find the nose smokey, tinge of ham and sauerkraut. Certainly not sweet. Leave it alone for 3-4 minutes in the glass and the waft reaches you 15 feet away. Smoky peat. Taste is refreshingly light. Add 3 drops of water, wait a minute or so and here comes the sweetness. Ephemeral Jaggery, sugarcane juice. Trace of Vanilla. Stays light. Complex, light, not overpowering the nasal cavity. Peat lingers on as smokiness dissipates. Fabulous subtlety, suggestive yet not seductive. Finish is short, pity! Stilton and Baby cheese and this dram go well, since Adelost, a Swedish blue cheese and made for this whisky is not readily available.

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