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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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Q. What do you get if you put Coal Ila new make spirit into cask number 4213 (a hogshead) in December 1998 and then get Càrn Mòr to bottle it in August 2015?

A. 135 bottles of this whisky!  More info
Well aged Caol Ila, anyone? Oh yes, this is a single cask bottling of 25 year old single malt from the legendary Islay distillery, presented as part of the Xtra Old Particular range by Douglas Laing...  More info
An indie Islay whisky from the Caol Ila distillery, matured in a single bourbon cask for 8 years. It was distilled in April 2006 and bottled in January 2015 with an outturn of 322 bottles, bottled at...  More info
Fancy some well-aged Caol Ila? Well Gleann Mór have just the thing for that hankering with this independently bottled Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a single cask for 30 years! It was...  More info
A Signatory bottling of cask strength Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a single hogshead for 31 years. It was distilled by the Islay distillery in November 1983 and bottled in February...  More info
Part of Diageo's Distillers Edition range comes a 2001 vintage single malt Scotch whisky from Caol Ila, which has been matured in American oak and finished in Moscatel wine casks. A limited edition...  More info
User Rating:  (14 Reviews)
Islay whiskies are very popular these days, and with bottles like this 23 year old Caol Ila being incredibly tasty, we're not surprised! This bottling comes from Montgomerie's Rare Select collection.  More info
Lorne Mackillop chooses the expressions that become part of the Mackillop's Choice range, and they're all absolutely top notch drams. Distilled at the Islay distillery in 1990, this Caol Ila has been...  More info
34 year old single malt Scotch whisky from the Caol Ila distillery, bottled as part of the Mackillop's Choice range - an excellent choice, chaps! This Islay single malt was distilled in May 1980 and...  More info
An indie Islay single malt here from Wemyss Malt - this is a 1997 vintage Caol Ila, matured in a hogshead until 2015. It was bottled with an outturn of 340 bottles, presented at 46% ABV. This has been...  More info
Cask strength Caol Ila, bottled by Gordon & MacPhail! This 10 year old Islay single malt was distilled in December 2004 and bottled at 60.1% ABV in February 2015. It was drawn from four casks, which...  More info
An Xtra Old Particular bottling of single malt Scotch whisky from the Caol Ila distillery on the Isle of Islay. It was distilled by Caol Ila in February 1979 and matured in a single refill hogshead...  More info
A stunning single cask Caol Ila single malt, matured in a refill hogshead from January 1984 to October 2014. It was bottled by Hunter Laing for their Old & Rare Platinum range, with an outturn of 246...  More info
An independently bottled Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, matured in 2 bourbon barrels and bottled without chill filtration or additional colouring. It was distilled on the island of Islay in 2006...  More info
A Distillers Edition bottling of Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2014. Before it was bottled, it was given a finishing period in Moscatel casks to impart more rich...  More info
Caol Ila Moch
(70cl, 43%)
Moch is Gaelic for dawn, and this release from Caol Ila is an altogether lighter prospect than the distillery's excellent 12 year old standard expression.  More info
User Rating:  (6 Reviews)
Caol Ila 12 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
This 12 year old is the entry level bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, launched in June of 2002 this expression is light and fresh with that distinctive Caol Ila smoke.  More info
User Rating:  (66 Reviews)
A fabulous cask strength release from Caol Ila, this was bottled for the 2011 Feis Ile (Islay Festival). We first tried this in the cold and rain at Caol Ila's blustery distillery day. It was just...  More info
17 year old Caol Ila distilled in March 1990 and aged in claret wine barrel number 4055 before bottling December 2007 for the Old Malt Cask range.  More info
The oldest official bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, this 25 year old Islay single malt was released as one of just 6,000 bottles, distilled in 1978 and bottled in 2003 at cask strength.  More info
Distilled at Caol Ila in May of 1983, this was aged for 28 years in a single cask (number 3618) before bottling in 2012. A release of 413 individually numbered bottles from Duncan Taylor's Dimensions...  More info
A 28 year old Caol Ila bottled in 2012 by Adelphi, and one of 250 bottles matured in a refill bourbon hogshead.  More info
A beautiful Caol Ila, filled into cask on the 18th December 1996, and aged for 12 years in European oak sherry cask 19313 before being hand selected by Billy Stitchell for the 2009 Feis Ile.  More info
A rare half bottle of Caol Ila from Signatory, these are rather hard to come by.  More info
A limited edition sherry finished single malt from Caol Ila, just 280 bottles were released, distilled in 1984 and bottled in October of 2008 by Gordon and MacPhail, a beautifully balanced whisky from...  More info
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