Caol Ila 12 Year Old

70cl / 43%
  • Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Distillery Bottling
Caol Ila 12 Year Old
Web Exclusive Price £43.95 £36.63 ex VAT (£62.79 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

67 Customer Reviews

  • Add Your Review
  • 4
    1 October

    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

    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

    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.

  • 5
    19 July

    Smoky, fresh and TCP on the nose. It tastes sweet and smoky (I think there is something to be said about the 'smoky bacon suggestion) Lovely drop. At around ?45 it's stunningly good value.

  • 2
    18 July

    It has good favours and aromas, good complexity going on. But Diageo Diegeo Diageo!!! why the hell do you ruin a perfectly good malt, why you strip off its quality and flavour. The current bottling of Caol Ila 12 is noticeably thin in the mouth, extremely thin mouthfeel, nothing oily or rich about it... Again, it has good complexity, good start, good development, good finish, but really awful mouthfeel.. just for the crappy mouthfeel, I doubt Im ever going to get another bottle of this again. I mean... seriously, would it kill Diageo to stop chill filtering their malts and bumping the alcohol to 46%, as it is these days, the barley being used is commercial, so while it is high in yield it lack in richness, so given this, I think Diageo should give us our money's worth by NOT chill filtering their single malts.

  • 4
    28 May

    The sweetness off the palate is then met with smoke that covers through the mouth. Great drop for it's price.

  • 1
    13 May

    Can't recall not liking a drop this much , kinda tastes like a cleaning fluid , sorry :(

  • 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!

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