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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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Do you have problems with chill filtration? Well you're in luck, as Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection doesn't allow it! The range now includes a 16 year old Caol Ila from casks 5572 & 5573.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
When Stewart Laing started Hunter Laing after splitting the assets of Douglas Laing with his brother, he continued to produce independent bottlings of fantastic whisky for the Old Malt Cask selection...  More info
No whisky was chillfiltered in the making of this 17 year old Caol Ila single malt. After being distilled in 1996 and maturing in casks 12559 and 12570, it was bottled by Signatory in 2013 with an...  More info
This is a delicious and very special whisky from the Caol Ila distillery, released as part of Diageo's Distillers Edition range. This was distilled in 2000 and was initially matured in American oak...  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
Bottled by Hunter Laing as part of their Old Malt Cask selection, which has reached its 15th anniversary! There's obviously no better way to celebrate this milestone that with some 29 year old Caol...  More info
With a presentation box almost as gorgeous as the whisky itself, you know you're in for a treat with The Duncan Taylor Single range of independently bottled single cask whiskies. This particular treat...  More info
A Douglas Laing bottling of 17 year old single malt from the particularly talented Islay distillery, Caol Ila. Oh, what a coincidence! I used the word "particularly" and this is an Old Particular...  More info
Single cask single malt whisky from the talented Caol Ila distillery near Port Askaig on Islay, bottled by Signatory. After maturing in a hogshead for 30 years(!), it was bottled for the Cask Strength...  More info
Un-chillfiltered Islay whisky from the Caol Ila distillery. This single malt spent 17 years maturing in two casks before it was bottled with an outturn of 782 bottles by Signatory in October 2013.  More info
A 30 year old Caol Ila from Signatory? How delicious! Thank you. What do you mean I only get to write the bottling note, and that I don't get to take all of these home with me? Hmph. Well, I guess I...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
This 19 year old single malt Caol Ila laughs in the face of chill-filtration! It was drawn from two hogsheads by Signatory, producing 692 bottles of scrumptious Islay whisky.  More info
A 33 year old (!) Caol Ila matured in a single hogshead and then bottled by those lovely folk over at Douglas Laing in December 2013. Just 136 bottles of this wonderful Islay whisky were produced.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
Well aged Islay whisky from the Caol Ila distillery, you say? Now you're talking my language! That's right, this WM Cadenhead bottling of Caol Ila single malt is 33 years old.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
That there Caol Ila distillery were the clever minds behind this 30 year old single malt Scotch whisky, while Signatory were the careful hands who popped the whisky into the bottles, at cask strength...  More info
A cracking Caol Ila bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for their Connoisseurs Choice range.  More info
Speciality Drinks bottle Islay whiskies as part of their Elements of Islay Range. The iconography is like that of the periodic table and the whiskies are really rather tasty. This bottle is the fourth...  More info
Single cask 5 year old Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, distilled on Islay in 2008 and bottled without colouring or chill-filtering for the Hepburn's Choice range in 2014 with an outturn of 414...  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

Caol Ila's Fèis Ìle 2014 bottling was selected by new distillery manager David Wood (a truly excellent name for anybody in a position to choose casks) who carries on Billy...  More info
Batch 1 of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's Caol Ila Single Malt Scotch Whisky has been launched to mark the team's trip to Fèis Ìle 2013! If you catch them while they're out there, they may even...  More info
User Rating:  (3 Reviews)
A wonderful single cask release of Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, distilled in 1982, from the Mackillop's Choice range. 292 bottles of this delicious Islay whisky were produced from cask 6507 at...  More info
This delightfully smoky Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky was bottled by the top chaps at Wemyss. It was distilled in 1982 and left to mature in a single hogshead until 2014, when it was bottled with...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
30 year old Caol Ila single malt, bottled for the Duncan Taylor Single collection. This Sherried Islay dram has matured from May 1983 to February 2014, when it was bottled with an outturn of just 66...  More info
Hunter Laing's Old Malt Cask range continues with an 18 year old Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a refill butt from September 1996 to September 2014. A wonderful coastal dram, with good...  More info
This is an independent bottling of Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, distilled in 1983 and bottled at over 30 years old in 2014. It comes to us as part of La Maison du Whisky's 4th edition of their...  More info
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