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Caol Ila

Caol Ila was founded to the North of Islay in 1846 by the pleasingly-named Hector Henderson. It is located near Port Askaig and sits in lush, floral surroundings, overlooking the cove and the Paps of southern Jura. The distillery draws its water from Loch Nam Ban, whose waters travel through limestone and peat before reaching their beneficiary, Caol Ila.

The whisky distillery was sold to Norman Buchanan in 1852 and then, following monetary hardship, to the Glasgow-based blenders Bulloch, Lade and Co who renovated the buildings in 1879. Following liquidation, Distillers Company Ltd acquired Caol Ila and the distillery was subsequently transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers. The capacity is moderate at 3.65 million litres annually, the majority of which is used in Johnnie Walker blends. Just 5% is kept for maturation as single malt.

From 1999, unpeated single malts have been experimented with and in 2006 the first unpeated bottling was released in the form of an eight year-old. Caol Ila, whose name derives from the Gaelic for ‘Sound of Islay’, has been included in the Diageo Classic Malts range, exhibiting twelve and eighteen year-old expressions as well as a Moscatel-finished Distillers Edition. Independent bottlings can also be found.

Caol Ila Whisky Distillery

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About Caol Ila Whisky Distillery

Distillery Number

01496 302760

Distillery Founded


Distillery Capacity

3 650 000 litres

Distillery Status


Distillery Owner


Distillery Address

Port Askaig, Islay, Argyll

Distillery Website


Hector Henderson founds Caol Ila.


Henderson, Lamont & Co. is subjected to financial difficulties and Henderson is forced to sell Caol Ila to Norman Buchanan.


Norman Buchanan encounters financial troubles and sells to the blending company Bulloch, Lade & Co. from Glasgow.


The distillery is rebuilt and expanded.


Bulloch, Lade & Co. is liquidated and the distillery is taken over by Caol Ila Distillery.


DCL becomes sole owners.


DCL transfers administration to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD). The distillery closes.


Operations recommence.


All the buildings, except for the warehouses, are demolished and rebuilt.


The renovation, which totals £1 million,


Experiments with a completely unpeated malt are performed.


The first official bottlings since Flora & Fauna/Rare Malt appear; 12 years, 18 years and Cask Strength (c. 10 years).


A 25 year old cask strength is released.


A 25 year old Special Release is launched.


Unpeated 8 year old and 1993 Moscatel finish are released.


The second edition of the unpeated 8 year old is released.


The third edition of unpeated 8 year old is released.

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Batshit Mental Ideas
A punchy cask strength release, it's at 65.8%! This is an unpeated expression from the Caol Ila distillery. They make this stuff but once a year, and is matured in first fill bourbon barrels.  More info
Distilled at Caol Ila on the 15th September 1999 and aged in two hogsheads before bottling on the 8th April 2011. A release of 926 bottles.  More info
This Caol Ila was distilled on the 18th November 1999, and was aged in hogsheads before bottling on the 2nd June 2011. A release of 936 bottles from Signatory.  More info
This was distilled at Caol Ila on the 9th November 2000 and aged for 11 years in two bourbon barrels before bottling for Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection on the 27th April 2912. Each bottle is...  More info
A young and punchy 11 year old single cask peated offering from Caol Ila distillery, bottled by Adelphi in early 2013.  More info
A 12 year old Islay malt from the Caol Ila distillery. This was bottled for the exceptional new Alchemist range.  More info
Caol Ila is Islay's biggest producer in terms of volume. By jingo it's good though. Oh yes.  More info
A 12 year old Caol Ila single cask, with a peaty, spicy flavour. This is part of an outturn of 743 bottles from a refill butt, distilled in September 1995 and bottled in January 2008 by Douglas Laing.  More info
This Caol Ila was aged in two refill hogsheads (casks 5720 and 5721) for 12 years. Distilled in Autumn 1997 and bottled by Douglas Laing in Winter 2009.  More info
This 12 year old Caol Ila was distilled on the 12th November 1999 and it was aged in two hogsheads before bottling by Signatory on the 12th December 2011.  More info
This 12 year old Caol Ila was distilled on the 18th November 1999 and it was aged in two hogsheads (casks 310804 and 310806) before bottling by Signatory on the 12th December 2011. A release of 887...  More info
2010's Special Release from the Caol Ila distillery. This unpeated version was bottled at cask strength, and it was aged for 12 years in first fill ex-bourbon casks.  More info
One of the best Unpeated Caol Ila's so far (as of 2011), this is a stunning whisky, distilled in 1999 and aged in first fill ex bourbon American oak casks. Really very good indeed! A release of 6,000...  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
A 13 year old Caol Ila, distilled in October 1996 and aged in casks 91971 and 91974, this was given a finish in Sauternes dessert wine casks before bottling in March 2010. One of just a handful of...  More info
An Islay favourite, Caol Ila make a glorious peated single malt. if you're looking for proof, look no further than this independent bottling of 13 year old Caol Ila, taken from a refill hogshead...  More info
13 year old Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, independently bottled for the Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection. This tasty Islay dram was distilled in August 2001 and set aside to mature until...  More info
A Tokaji finished Caol Ila, this was distilled on the 30th September 1994 and matured in three casks before bottling by Gordon and MacPhail in July of 2009. Part of a release of just 492 bottles.  More info
Distilled in September 1996 and aged for 14 years in a refill hogshead before bottling for the Old Malt Cask range in September 2010 as part of a release of 329 bottles.  More info
This is a fourteen year old Caol Ila bottled without chill-filtration by Signatory to maintain flavour and texture.  More info
This is a 14 year old Caol Ila which has been made from un-peated malted barley - unusual for these Islay Distillers. The whisky has been matured in ex-Sherry casks for a fruity character which still...  More info
A fifteen year old Caol Ila from Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask Series. Smoky, sooty, medicinal, everything we want from a Caol Ila.

The Old Malt Cask range began as a release of fifty bottlings in...  More info
A smoky single malt from Douglas Laing produced at the Caol Ila distillery. Matured in a single cask and selected as part of the Directors' Cut range, 173 bottles were produced.  More info
This fifteen year old Caol Ila has been bottled by Signatory without chill filtration and is a deliciously peaty Islay single malt!  More info
It's not every day you see unpeated Caol Ila, but it's part of Diageo's Special Releases for a reason - it's a bit special, it is. Released for the 2014 collection of Special Releases, this edition...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
Very rare bottle of Caol Ila, bottled at the Bladnoch distillery after sixteen years of maturation.  More info
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