Review No.58. Caol Ila 12 Year Old

Caol Ila is another peated single malt from the island of Islay and generates the largest outturn of whisky on the Island. This is another brand that sits within Diageo’s impressive portfolio.  From what I gather Caol Ila is regarded quite highly by many critics.  There are a number of variants such as the Moch, unpeated, distiller’s edition and 18 year old amongst other limited editions.


Whisky: Caol Ila 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 43% vol.

Nose: Ash, brine, vanilla, custard tart, peat

Taste: Vanilla, citrus, honey, toffee, dried fruits, pepper, oak, smoke

Finish: Citrus and smoke

Score: 2.75

Summary: I would describe this one as full bodied and robust.  There is just as much peat to this as there is sweetness and there is a lot going on between the two.  On occasion I would get more of the vanilla, coastal and citrus characteristic and then on other occasions I would get more of pepper spice with ashy and brine. This is quite complex and it took me a fair bit of time to figure out what the distinctive characteristics of this one is.  However, over time I figured out that the Caol Ila 12 year old offers a bit of everything.  If you are a fan of peated whiskies then you will like this for sure but if you are not sure then I would suggest you purchase the 20cl version and try it out.


Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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