Caol Ila 12 Year Old
Product Description

The flagship single malt from Caol Ila distillery is bright and refined with notes of lemon peel, sea air and fine peat smoke. A classic Islay whisky that’s perfect for fans of peated whisky or anyone looking to experiment with the smokier side of Scotch. You can enjoy this neat or over ice with a little chilled soda water and a twist.

This is one of those whiskies I always go back to. It’s just got a brilliant clarity to it, lots of lovely oysters, rockpools, citrus and campfire smoke. People can stereotype Islay whiskies as big peat monsters, but this shows that smokiness doesn’t have to come at the expense of elegance. Joe Rogers, The Whisky Exchange

Caol Ila 12 Year Old

  • Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Distillery Bottling

70cl / 43%

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Tasting Notes

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

Customer Reviews

4 (101 Reviews)

  • 5


    Surprisingly good for its price. Nose - smokiness, floral, flowers, garlic. Complex. Taste - sweet, oily, smoky, medicinal. Good , very good, I am surprised.

  • 4


    I completely agree with Diageo that this malt is better for blending. It's good quality, as smoky as you'd expect, but overall it lacks complexity. After smoke the dominant character is spicy Jalapeño pepper, just a little fruity and very little sea notes. The aftertaste is pure Jalapeño pepper. Added a drop of it to Glenfiddich 12, it certainly added a lot of complexity. But as a solo sipper, I'd still prefer Ardbeg.

  • 4

    David Forrest,

    Smoky sweetness , lovely mouthfeel . Rich and complex, smooth not as robust as some other Islay drams but it is quickly becoming one of my go to drams.

  • 3


    Yeah, nah. Not really the one for me. A pleasant enough somewhat smooth whiskey. Dominant smoke but lacking overall complexity and anything like a robust body. A distinctly thin and somewhat medical/alcoholic feel in the mouth.

  • 4


    When I found out this was the primary source of smoke in the Johnnie Walker Black label I was apprehensive to try it, can't say I'm a fan of the blend. However this on the other hand ticks all the right boxes as an Islay for me. Lovely smokey sweetness on the nose with a surprisingly light taste, some vanilla and stone fruit on the palate which disappears into a nice ashy finish. If you ever see this on sale, stock up, its great served neat and works wonders for your tastebuds in a smokey old fashioned.