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Caol Ila 12 Year Old

(70cl, 43%)

Caol Ila 12 Year Old

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Caol Ila 12 Bottling Note

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.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Fresh, herbal. Rubbed peppermint leaves, stemmy, damp grass, smoky. Oily, cigar leaves, smoked ham, hickory. Lemon peels at the harbour.

Palate: Good body, oily, tar, elegant smoke. Hints of boiled sweets.

Finish: Long, peppery, spicy warmth, smoke.

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Caol Ila 12 Year Old Reviews

Surprisingly smooth and subtle

I'm relatively new to whisky but cut my teeth on Laphroaig and Lagavulin 16. I concluded that I didn't like smoky whiskies until, that is, I tried this!

This is so amazingly smooth, with those lovely peaty and smoky flavours but without being overpowering. Such a lovely drink and, at this price, a real bargain.

15th October 2020

Best coastal whisky for the money

Not a peat bomb, instead, one of the best, if not the best, coastal whiskies you can get for the money. There´s so many great and accurate reviews of this Islay classic below, that it´s difficult to add anything to those.

Caol Ila 12 beats easily many, many trendy and overpriced whiskies. Funny, some much pricey whiskies are only a poor mans versions of Caol Ila 12. It´s so delightful that you can still get something really great, without emptying your wallet.

One advice, if you´ve never tasted this, don´t except anything. Just sit down with the glass, and take your time.

Five stars because of the price/quality ratio.

6th October 2020

Fantastic daily favourite.

Fantastic dram this one! Would become one of my favourites! Read the description on the box. Very apt poetic description.

19th September 2020


I love this stuff. Peaty of course but much more mellow than some others of a similar ilk(which I also love). Complex flavours come after and for me it all comes together beautifully and just reminds me of the sea. Wonderful dram.

18th August 2020

Classic beautifully balanced Islay whisky

They call it the "entry level" Caol Ila. Ignore that, and all the gimmicky moscatel finished variants. This is their best product and an absolute classic. Plenty of the characteristic Islay smoke but with a beautiful balance and a long spicy finish.

14th August 2020

My favorite

Great whisky with typical Islay taste, medicinal and peaty, but very smooth and light.

15th July 2020

10 July 2020

I like smoke and peaty whisky this is more sedate thañ some but still a very good dram to drink cheers

10th July 2020

I'll save judgement

This bottle that I have just isn't the same.
Smoke taste, has that smoke flavor additive taste....not sure if it's ny palate or something is a miss.
Not enjoying this bottle.
Monte Cristo is accompanying stogie.

22nd June 2020

Good malt but in Diageo's hands, it's not the same

It's been almost 25 years since I first tried this malt. I remember that in those years it was more complex and profound. It is always among my favorites but I think its quality has decreased somewhat.

20th May 2020

What a belter

Nice and smoky both on the nose and the pallate. Not over powering or tcp tasting like laphroaig can be, a beautiful well rounded scotch. Easily my go to whisky

19th May 2020

Current Daily Drinker Dram

This is one of the best smokey malts I have had (so far).

It defintlitely has that fresh coastal, briney, smokey vibe from nose to finish and hands down beats lagavulin and laphroig for balance.

Not sure it has as much body and legs though as the more in your face peated drams.

This is the perfect intro for those new to smokey peated whisky.

19th May 2020

get some smoke

A tone of smoke is there, as well as spicies. I wished it was a little more complex.

23rd April 2020

ExcExcellent balance of light smoke and hint of sweetness.

Excellent balance of light smoke and hint of sweetness. Just what the doctor ordered!

29th January 2020

One of my top five favorite peated. Gentle well rounded

Medium peated, salty coastal air on nose and palate, hint of Fresh seaweed in the distance?Smoke is gentle and its well rounded and matured properly. Oily tar, cold chimney air. Spicy at the end. Finish is good and long. Gentle Smoke lingers. Not super complex but what is there is so delicious to my taste buds. I prefer it over Lagavulin 8. Laphroig and Ardbeg wins though

28th January 2020

It’s a beauty

For all you nay sayers, shut it! Go back to your blended scotches! If you want smokier go with Lagavulin. If want a nice balanced whiskey with smokey, lightly sweet notes the Caol Ila 12 is a winner!!

19th January 2020

Not good not bad

Oily initially to smell and it’s clay taste and the after drink. finish in the mouth some what fresh

31st December 2019

Great on the nose, tame palate, easy drink

Nose - strong salty Leather, Cut apples, olive oil and fresh cherry

Palate - Opens with a very light, dry pear, and mild burnt grass and light honey, then starts to get smoky as the mild flavors like almonds changing to something a little citrus, staying light throughout.

Finish - light, mild, honey-sweet, tinapa, apple orange salad aftertaste Second Finish is a taste of sweet berries and some lingering salt along the toungue and lingering smoke

12th November 2019

Not bad, not great

This has the signature characteristics of an Islay malt but it's a bit thin and lacking in body. I added 25ml of Caol Ila 12 to 40ml of Royal Lochnagar 12 and it worked. This blend has the bite and salinity of Islay but with added body and sweetness. Alternatively, buy an Oban 14, which is just lovely.

15th October 2019

Nice Islay wildcard.

Nice Islay malt. Chameleon flavours. Sour and sweet, gooseberry, smokey, mildly carbolic, slightly salty. Quite a complex young malt and not for beginners. I prefer an Ardbeg or Lagavulin, but this is a nice change if pace.

27th July 2019

Try it everyday to discover more. Beautiful.

This is an everyday dram for me. Smoky peat blasts of fresh heather. Grapefruit maybe.
Lingers after, salty tingles. Try 1 then 2 drops of water to bring out a creamy sweetness. So smooth on the swallow. Stunning.

2nd July 2019

A huge Whisky with a finish that grows and grows

I never really knew much about this distillery on Islay, tried several drams and settled on this monster of a whisky. My absolute new favourite, nipping Ardbeg Uigeadail at the post for complexity, depth and of course the peat you know is going to smack you in the face if you're drinking an Islay liquid.

One nice measure can last an entire evening, keeping you basked in bonfire, tar and smoke as you work your way down the glass. It is an acquired taste as many Islay single malts are but this is one behemoth of a dram and now I find myself pining for the taste if I have anything else that doesn't measure up to the punch this delivers to your taste buds. I'll take a case.

12th June 2019

A mild, subtle Island whisky

I don't normally like the peaty taste of most Island whiskies but this one is more subtle and really grows on you (now finished the first bottle that I was given as a present and ordering another).

10th June 2019

Almost perfect - for lovers of smokey single malts

sweet, smokey and mild - very close to what I dream of as my perfect single malt should be (Most of the time)

4th May 2019


Great balance of peat, brine and sweetness. Really nice nose with lemony spice and long finish. I’ve just had my first glass, ready to look for a bottle.

1st May 2019

Pure joy

A truly wonderful drinking experience. Sweet, fruit, thickness, savory undertones, sweet peat, and a long smokey slightly sweet finish. At times it feels like eating an entire meal in one drink. The peat is wonderfully balanced and pleasant in the mouth for those who enjoy peat. If you don't like peat, why are you drinking this? It would be better at 46% and because of that, I feel it is priced about where it should be.

3rd April 2019


This is a bad whisky. One of worst I have ever had. Thankfully I was given this as a present, and I didn’t waste any of my money on it. If in the future if I were to be offered Caol Ila or Bells, I will take the Bells.
This is the only whisky I have poured the whole bottle down the sink. It is that bad.

1st February 2019

Decent expression with a lot of potential unrealised

The 12 yo is the only Caol Ila I have had (full bottle). When i opened a bottle I was quite enjoying it. The typical Islay profile, the distillery character, the bonfire smoke, the elegant body and aromatic sweetness. Although imo it lacked complexity a little in comparison to other standard Islay expressions of similar age CI 12 seemed like a very pleasant nosing and tasting experience overall.

Then I left a bottle untouched for a month or so and decided to give it another go. The sea profile has almost disappeared, so did the smokiness. Moreover, the finish turned into a very unpleasant one due to being overpowered by oaky biterness and wet ashtray note. Adding water only increased the bitterness in the finish.

If you have not tried Caol Ila 12 you should definitely give it a go. You will have a worthy experience. However, this expression is rather mediocre so do not have high expectations. I have decided to get another bottle of Caol Ila from independent bottlers next in hope to get an amplified experience resulting from natural presentation (no colour added, no chill-filtration) and higher abv (46% or over).

23rd January 2019

Correction to my last review

Did not touch it for three weeks and tried it again tonight... A way better !
The big peaty oily herbal taste has evolved to something more fruity and salty with less bitterness... I am surprised, I did not realised a whisky could change this much in a couple weeks. 2.5 to 3.5 stars easy. At the end, a good One !

16th January 2019

Pretty good

My first Islay and my 3rd single malt whisky after Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie and this one is very different very peat and smoky with olive oil flavor and bonfires with a citrus notes a pretty good finish too.

15th January 2019

Really ??

I am a big fan of islay whisky, especially laphroaig and Lagavulin, but this one, nope. There is no complexity at all. First on the nose, a hint of fruit, and Peat, only Peat... Then on the palate it starts quiet well, really smooth with some light banana I guess, and then again, the peat, the peat and... The peat and this is it. I know it is all about personal feelings, but how can we possible give 5 stars to this ?? Far, far away from the laga 16yo, laph 10yo, ardbeg, Springbank and many others from islay. I just opened the bottle last night and hopefully it will evolve a little bit.

23rd December 2018

Nothing but love

I agree with some of the other reviews that this feels and tastes a little thin compared to peatier Islay whisky. That said, this is a smooth libation, with a nice dose of peat, and many subtle flavours. Perfect for sipping on after a nice dinner or brunch. I have nothing but love for this distillery, and would never turn down a dram of Coal Ila 12.

11th December 2018

My favourite Single Malt Whisky 12 Years old


25th October 2018

Fantastic scotch with lots of character.

This is my first review and I've tried probably around 20 different ones, so that probably shows how much I enjoyed this.
Came on my islay tasting set and I fell in love after smelling it, the palate is phenomenal as well.
The tasting notes are pretty spot on, but there is quite a fair bit of sweetness as soon as you swallow it, something similar to a dried fruit sweetness.
Smokiness is just right for me.
Out of all the whiskies I've tried, which aren't many, this is the one with the most character so far.
I wouldn't recommend for a first time whisky drinker but I will for sure be buying a bottle soon.

2nd August 2018

Excellent 12 year scotch

I immediately sensed, from the aroma, the fruitiness under the acute yet mild smoke. On the palate this combination was sensational. A wonderful aromatic Islay whiskey

12th June 2018

my favurite Islay whisky


29th May 2018

Not bad but

Balanced, with peat and fresh citrus notes. Not bad at all but not as complex as its rivals from islay south coast. Buy Ardbeg 10 or Talisker 10 if you like Peat (and cant afford Lagavulin 16) If not, and still want something from Islay, buy Bunna 12.


29th April 2018

Smooth, velvety but a bit thin.

Not as good as the 15, and certainly not in the same universe as the 22, but solid nonetheless. Such a smooth, sweet finish.

23rd February 2018

Caol Ila 12 - 43% - chill filtered - e150a added:

moldy, marrowy, saline peat - rather complex peat.
a touch of, i would say, guano.

i've never eaten brains or bone marrow or even bat droppings, nor will i, but i can imagine that this comes very close to those items.
gourmet (indeed).

too bad this dram is so overly 'produced' and filtered down at present: i agree with that. NCF, no e150 my dudes.
possibly my favorite * peat * though. sorry, Ardbeg ;)

17th February 2018


Started drinking it reluctantly but when accompanied with a Hoyo de Monterrey petit robusto it tasted heavenly.

16th January 2018

Oily, controlled smoke, peat, licorice and star anise.

Lovely, but too oily for my taste. Very controlled but strong smoke and prominent peat. Liquorice and star anise hiding in there somewhere. Luxurious mouth feel.

5th January 2018


well.. got one for christmas. quite thin. filtered very heavily, clearly, and i think coloured as well. my fav islay otherwise. bloody beans, if only they'd present it in a completely natural way! looking forward to *that* day!! not getting another bottle until they do. + a bit overpriced, as many whiskies are nowadays.

you think you've found something clean, and something true, but no. they have to mess it all up!
this world!

(do appreciate the above 40% abv, do appreciate tasteful label design.)

4th January 2018

This current version can not take any water. Ye have been warned!

4th November 2017

One of the best of the region

From the "medicinal"west coast malts this is the second most enjoyable after Talisker in my opinion. As complex as it's name is to pronounce correctly but far preferable over tastebud killers like Lagavulin or Laphroaig.

27th October 2017

Give it time -

35 minutes in the glass and it comes to life; cocoa powder, vanilla, caramel, yellow fruits, especially, in my opinion, pineapple and pineapple peels. Coal tar soap, burning grass. Musty old bourbon barrels.

Given enough air, the cocoa powder gains prominence on the palate, something which combines tremendously well with the saltiness of the peat. It's an altogether savory and very sweet malt.

- Light on the oak.

Left my half drunk bottle open for a couple of hours every other day for a week the second week I had it. Helped it gain some extra depth.

A fully natural version of this (no chill filtering) would be truly something.

Close to excellence, 4/5.

13th October 2017


Disappointingly thin.
Stop chill filtering this, Diageo. Stop it right now.

2nd October 2017

Caol ila un nome una sicurezza

Posso solo dire che non si può negare la sua grande qualità.....consigliatissimo anche a chi inizia da poco l'incontro con i malti torbati. Grande.

1st September 2017

Diageo sucks and it shows in the Caol Ila 12

very very thin mouthfeel, almost vapourises as soon as it touches the tongue. very light. it has good complexity and good flavours, but the thinness of the malt takes a lot away from it. if this whisky was non chillfiltered and 46% it would be an absolute belter. but what do i know.

23rd July 2017

Good malt but in the hands of Diageo, not much can be said for quality.

yeah, caol ila12, the malt may be the the island's mr. consistent, but diageo, the owners of the malt have sworn to keep their consistency about reducing the quality of fine malts.

Chill filtered whiskes DO taste thinner and less their non chill filtered ones. Those who dont believe this, get any chill filtered malt and a non chill filtered one and have both side by side, and you will note the difference.

23rd July 2017

Quality has declined

I remember the taste of the 12 when I first got into whisky. Much more sophisticated balancing of sweetness and smoke than Laphroaig's equivalent note, for example. However, when I taste it now, I can't help but feel as though they've compromised on quality as they've ramped up production (Diageo-owned after all). Feels like it's lost it's body and vaporises in the mouth much more quickly. Disappointing, but still an alright dram.

5th July 2017

Highly recommended

I'm a fan of the sherried single malt whiskies, but this is excellent. The peat is not so medicinal as in Laphroaig. Highly recommended.

5th June 2017


Just received this as a birthday present, WOW! I've always been a fan of the more subtle smokey single malts and for me, as a first time taster, this is tops. Nothing about it is overpowering, as it's smooth character and nuances develop into the perfect whisky. The oily, smokey overtones are perfectly balanced. I do not find it dry and the sweetness develops on the palate if you give it half a chance. A bottle tends to last me a while so it will be interesting to see how it develops. Enjoy.

23rd May 2017


Right at the top of my taste range for smoke,any more and I wouldn't want to drink it. Quite a strong peaty flavour, I'm sure this will be a big hit with many people. I can tell it's good quality but not suited to my tastes.

15th April 2017

Better than ever.

Better and stronger than before. Caol Ila has taken its pants off and wants to fight all the Islay heavies to a phenol showdown. This whisky, contrary to what is happening to most other big name whiskies, is actually improving. I would say this beats the Ardbeg 10 easily, on spirit quality....and is also better than the totally overpriced and overrated Lagavulin 12. Buy this and say NO to overrated, overhyped and overpriced whisky....though admittedly I do remember Caol Ila being cheaper than this a couple of years ago....but at least it's better. Can you say the same Ardbeg, Talisker, Lagavulin? I don't think so....

9th March 2017


Great value for peat-lovers out there. Smooth, woody minerals, briney, smokey (gentler than other Islays) with a subtle sweetness. Everything I love about Islay

25th February 2017

One of the best

With the jump in price of the various Laphroaig offerrings and also the better Talisker offerings, the once comparatively pricey Caol Ila has suddenly found itself in the reasonably priced range for its undoubted quality. This is a much more balanced dram than the Laphroaig 10 or Select Cask and has a lot more smoke and balance than any of the NAS Taliskers. Ardbeg 10 is cheaper but not as good. To be honest, if this was $10 cheaper, it would be my go to bottle, as it has the depth of flavor and the right balance of smoke and peat with an appealing sweetness and oily mouthfeel.

21st February 2017

Good but not perfect

Tried many smoky and peaty whiskies from Islay...this seems more unnatural like JW double black. Well for the price almost the same as JW I put 3 and half stars.

15th February 2017

Highly recommend.

Wasn't impressed with first 2 drams. Put it away for a couple of months. Tried it again and WOW! Peety taste and aroma had mellowed considerably. This allowed the briney and sweet flavors to become more pronounced. Enjoyed my next 3 drams with Aurora perfidios 1903 ruby cigars. Excellent taste combination of the Caol Ila mingling with the leathery cocoa and coffee flavord of the Aorora. Returned for the final couple of drams only to discover my oldest teenage son finished it off with a Coca Cola mixer. Jesus wept.

9th February 2017


Delicious Islay Whisky. Somewhat smoother than other Islay Whiskies

12th January 2017

My Favourite Islay. Perfection

This is the perfect single malt for me, a wonderful peaty, smoky treat that doesn't over-power the palate. Nice smokiness to the nose then a smooth toffee like peat that warms and comforts, then a tremendous finish. Top of the class!

6th January 2017

Beautiful single malt


4th January 2017

Very Good

I'm a big Ardbeg and peaty whisky fan (but I do drink and enjoy others ;)

This was my first try at Caol Ila. It's very lemony (my gf, who is pretty much appalled by whisky, especially peaty stuff, tried this and said how much she was surprised by the sweet taste - didn't like the bitter/smoky finish though he he) almost like lemon sherbet sweets and there is that Islay peat tang that hits you; with oysters, sea shells and beach bonfires. The finish is very dry (a bit like the 8 yo Lagavulin I tried recently) but was only moderately smoky compared to others in its 'class'.

I'm just over half way through the bottle (opened 2 weeks give or take) and it has become less peaty/smoky and more sweet in that time. I added a couple drops of water when first opened but think its best neat as it is now.

Some reviews I'd seen said the peat levels were much less than Ardbeg 10 - Yes, its not as intense but the peat levels are still pretty decent if that's you're thing. It does lack on the smoke front though for me and I'm not sure if the finish is spirit or cask led - very dry, almost too much bitter tannins.

Not a direct comparson, but reminds me of Laphroaig Quarter Cask . . .

3rd January 2017

My favourite Islay

Absolutely love it!

3rd January 2017

must get another bottle

One of my favs. Bottle has ran out due to being my 'go to' bottle in the cabinet.

31st December 2016

Caol ila fan from Helsinki

My favourite of all whiskies. Can't explain it, but there is something very special in the taste that I really enjoy. THE whisky for me.

24th December 2016


This is an absolutely wonderful Islay scotch. It's not Lagavulin 16 (which is my personal favourite scotch), but it's much cheaper here in Canada than Lagavulin. Lovely peat, smoke, hints of toffee and some nice brine on the finish. Definitely worth your time.

22nd October 2016

Please ...

To all those that say it tastes like turpentine or tcp whatever. Stick to alcopops as clearly you have no idea about good whisky.

18th October 2016

Love it!!

Love this one!!, great peat plus a fruity note.

14th October 2016

Single Malt Nirvana from Islay

Delicate phenol notes, ash, sweetened dry fruit with a seaside breeze on the nose. The finish is long and lasting on the palate. I want more. Heaven sent!

12th October 2016

Definitely not Horrid!!

Those that don't like peat or complexity in their Scotch should stick to a blended with ice and soda. That way they will avoid the feeling they are in biology lab. Maybe throw in some ice cubes too. Lol .

6th October 2016

No Wonder this Gem is always sold out !

A delicious infusion of peat, dried fruits and sea salt to give this nectar a sliky sweetness with a hint of smoke in the background. Perfect scotch with a nice cigar!

29th September 2016


Formaldehyde smell!! I distinctly remember that smell from High School biology when dissecting a cat!

Taste is Turpentine, just like another reviewer mentioned.

Had Glenlivet 12, had Glenfarclas 17, both are great. This was cheap bathtub swill!

14th August 2016

Smooth and smoky

This is not going to be helpful but I was having a glass while smoking a Cuban on my birthday- all was well in the world. It was smooth and smoky and unctuous. Loved it

1st August 2016

Smoke and alcohol

Too much smoke for me... It seems antiseptic...

24th July 2016

Call Me Blasphemous, but...

For the past hour and a half, I've had around 20mls each of Arbelour 15 double cask, Royal Salute 21, Glenfiddich 18, and Caol Ila 12 in that order. And I prefer this for the balance of sweetness and smokiness. And at a price that's far lower than the RS 21 and GF 18 too.

Oh well, taste is subjective and to each his/her own. Cheers!

7th July 2016


Laphroaig Quarter Cask was my favourite but without realising it I'm on my 4th half of the night and want another. No water no ice just let it sit in your mouth savour the smoky taste and enjoy.

30th June 2016


Great stuff
Love the smoky aftertaste
Colour is just right as well

12th June 2016

Jon clay

Odd tcp antiseptic taste.

Quite nice with chocolate

29th May 2016

Mrs h Campbell

Best on Islay mild but remenicent of old smells of bygone old ways when the sheep came in to spend to night to wallow in the smell and cosiness of a time now long gone

24th May 2016

A great wee dram

Was looking for a slightly smokey whisky at a reasonable price. After drinking Talisker Dark Storm we wanted something a little lighter on the palate. This is a beautiful malt and so drinkable. Will definitely be going into our wedding quiche on May 10.

28th March 2016


I was excited about this bottle than quickly disappointed. To me, it just tastes like cheap american bourbon with a tiny hint of smoke at the end. It tastes identical to Highland Park 12 to me and my wife. I almost think we got a bottle that wasn't a good representation of Caol Ila because a lot of people really love this drink. Like the review under mine, I'm also a Laphroaig lover. This left a lot to be desired for me.

25th March 2016

Very drinkable

I'm normally a Laphraoig man all day long, but in my opinion Caol Ila 12 pushes the 10 yr laphraoig very close. I was very pleasantly surprised by how good this is.

21st March 2016

A lovely dram!

Very underrated! At this price point it's hard to imagine a better Islay single malt. Using the same water and peated malt as Lagavulin, it's fascinating to see how different a beast this is. Bright yet with honey and Heather on the tongue, there is still some lovely subtle smoke. I really love this one!

19th March 2016

Incredibly underrated (though heavily awarded)

Will drink this all day any day at the price point, even over the Ardbeg. Like it better than more "trendy" bottles like Lagavulin 16.

Hope it stays under the radar.

29th February 2016

Tastes like turpentine


29th February 2016

Best compromise. Easy choice for a perfect all arounder.

Flavoursome, easy on the palate, fresh but still smoky on the first sip. After taste is Amazing and continuing.lovely velvet finish with a touch of spice. Love it. My other favs are the Ardbeg Uigeadail, Talisker Dark Storm and Mortlach.

12th February 2016

Pretty dam good

New to the world of whiskey, someone gave me a bottle of bowmore and it took me a year or so to open it, thats where it started.
Anyway I am rambling, back to the Caol Ila, WOW, first blast I thought bloody hell, dont like this, smelt of cough candy and stale cigars. Added a drop of watter and left it 20 mins. Peppermint comes through, smoke is andsome my lovverlys and what a taste explosion in my mouth, roll it round your tongue and it will smack you in the back of the head like a brick wrapped in lemon. Not 3 bad at all to my rather inexperienced taste,would I buy it again, hell yes.

30th January 2016

Great whisky

Smooth and smoky with lots of flavours and a great finish

29th January 2016


Great scotch so far from everything we have had.
Very hard to get right now in Canada.

23rd January 2016


It's a camp fire, love, memories, and desire in liquid form. It's been my go-to scotch for years.

8th January 2016

Caol Isla 12

Excellent present for Christmas
Kip wake

25th December 2015


To me needs: cold water, the right glass, time and rookie humility. I found intriguing and delicious

23rd December 2015

Another nice Islay whiskey

Not as smokey as an Ardbeg in my view.
I like to drink all my whiskey with a touch of cold water, however with this one you MUST, in my opinion, drink it with a touch of cold water to enjoy its flavours, otherwise you just lose all the flavours and perfumes in its strenght

23rd December 2015

Complex, and refined Islay

I'm not much of an Islay man, preferring the sherrybombs, but I liked this one. Pretty unique flavor profile. First whiff is all seaside with the salt coming through. Then the light peat and a citrusy fruity note, not the ripe or overripe fruityness of a Speysider. Grassy herbal, minty almost. The smoke comes through clean with meat - smoked ham is about right on the finish and it stays for some time. Pretty intriguing. Recommend with a splash of water. Many won't like it because the flavors are not very sweet...I mean whoever thought of the lingering taste of smoked meat in their whisky?! But if you have a taste for adventure and whimsy, the out of the ordinary, the unexpected, why not? I actuallyfound this more ...what's the right word....charming...than the Laph 10. The latter is all muscle and muscle has its uses, it this makes you wonder, because its got more surprises up its sleeve. 7/10 for me, if you judge it right as it should be judged in its class. No point comparing something like this with a Glenfarclas

20th December 2015

Senor Escobar

Not worth a damn..... should've left it at the kennel.

13th December 2015

Great hard to find in Canada

The wife and I both like this one the most.

12th December 2015

Give it a Moment, and Let it Shine

At first I thought this was an Offensive Smelling Shot of Paint Stripper.
But after a minute of Airing the true brilliance of this 12yo Single malt came through and I find my self Loving this.
A Lovely Earthy and Smoky Aroma and Flavour. A Sort of Campfire Smokiness, rather than the Cigarette Ash of some other Lesser Whiskys.

12th December 2015

A Great Single Malt to enjoy with close friends

I do not want detailed about this Whisky, but if you like an a complex smokey flavor at an affordable price try it- you will not be disappointed.

2nd December 2015

this is a very good whisky


9th November 2015


Its a gently friuty light peated whisky. I like it.

7th November 2015

Not for me

This whisky tastes like a very bland Bowmore. It has a very damp earthy taste but nothing else to offer. Was somewhat excited to try this one but was very disappointed.

If you want Islay, stick with Lagavulin or Laphroaig.

13th October 2015

one of my favorites

I'm no whiskey connoisseur. I am merely a whiskey lover so I can't address flavor nuances and hints of this or that. My evaluations run between Like, Love and Wild About (I have yet to taste a whiskey that I dislike). My favorites have always been the Highland whiskeys as they tend to be on the peaty and smoky side. I tasted Caol Illa 12 for the first time in Sweden. A gift from a friend. The first sip was a bit of a burn. Then came the incredible aftertaste. The second sip was perfectly rounded. I fell in love with it from that moment on. When I had my chance to visit Scotland I would drink it at every pub that carried it. I also brought a bottle home (too bad there are weight limits on flights). This one falls in the category that I'm Wild about.

9th October 2015

great whisky

Being a fan of Islay whiskies I never tasted Caol Ila before. What a great taste this one has. I love Bowmore, Lagavullin and other Islays but this one is one of my top three favorites.

3rd October 2015

Lovely dram.

Smell is nice and smokey,unripe citrus, antiseptic, green apples, grapes, touch of toffee and a little floral note. With water, woods open up, more peaty, licorice, salty, briny, sweeter, vanilla, Bit more lovely.

Taste is peppery, smokey, hot, burnt my palate with out a little water. With water, sweeter, oak notes, grapes a plenty, licorice, toffee, vanilla again, red apples, pepper, resins, quite complex.

After taste, peppery, aromatic pines, smoke, campfire, slightly sweet. with smoke lingering.

Yummy, complex, unassuming in the 1st sips. Ripens as you go. Provided you take your time and let it open up.

22nd August 2015

2nd drams a charm

Picked this up at the saq. I was told it shared a lot of the same flavour profiles as the Lagavulin 16.

My first dram to be honest was terrible. I didn't have the ideal glass, however I got strong notes of smoke and an off putting taste of battery acid. I put the bottle away for a week and was rather disappointed.

Second dram, maybe the glass, maybe it could breath, but this is a good bottle for
Your money. Not as tamed as the lagavulin 16, but well balanced in smoke and spice along with a smooth but bold finish.

20th August 2015

Grand Duke dr.phil.Lord Chair Ruric-Alexei

Caol Ila 12 nothing less than the very best Whisky I ever had the exquisite pleasure of tasting and drinking. I have tasted some amaingly 30-60 years though I do not have that many of those like McCallen,High Park,Talisker and the oldest releases of glenfiddich. They are almade diffrently than Caol Ila with regard to degree of smooking.However compared this just 12Y old Caol Ila to similar ones or in he same Class then Caol Ila is seemingly superior than not only those which one normally would compare to as well as being the basic for any whisky rating. The smoky taste set aside this 12Y old Caol Ila has got extraordinary qualiies which may very well not be able to explain but the qualities superceed many very old and special edition plus single cask at cask strength editions.We are taking large number of extremey bespoken and higly celebrated expensive whiskies from best makers and some bottled 30-50 years ago that this Caol Ila supercced in taste by consensus by consensus from a large numbers of members of our esteemed whisky society here. Votes was 741 that has begtten the abve mentioned review against 111 that took mainly took the position that the price difference amounting to asmuch as 20.000 Pound Sterling was linked to the quality as well. Well we many that have opened one of these very expensive bottles in excess of 25-50.000 pound sterling. Sometimes was this whisky quite unique but there is none additional qualities of such superb taste that had set any of these old bottles aside lke for instance the 3 oldest GlenFiddish where one really cannot tell it apart from one of the high-end standard bottles. Best Regards DuxAlex

21st July 2015

awsome taste

caol ila is really fascinating experience ever I had.The flaavour is having sweet aroma and woody ,smoky smell always attracting single malt lovers

27th June 2015

Wow very unique

Got this today at my local liquor store and it is awesome starts out very minty and peppery with some nice sea salt and a nice touch of distinctive peat smoke. the finish is quite meaty almost like smoked ham or bacon and it just keeps getting better as you drink it. a little peppery for my tastes but it is quite a good dram one of my new favs and I would definitely buy this again.

21st April 2015

Smoke with Black Pepper Finish

I gave my flavor pallet to my "spirit guide". He recommended this bottle instead of the big brand name on sale at the time. I am very surprised by the quality at this price point. There are several bottles of lesser quality product for twice this price point.

8th April 2015

Love at second tase.

My experience is almost identical to hmmmmmm..... a couple of weeks ago. My first dram I let air for about 10-15 minutes before trying. I was sorry I bought this stuff! I'll NEVER buy this again, etc... A few days later I tried it again and I fell in love. This is going into my favorite five. To me it has the perfect balance of peat smokiness and sweetness. Truly great stuff! I've found an online source that I get from and have been getting a bottle a week along with Lagavulin 16 and Talisker 10. Cheers!

22nd March 2015

Something seems different

I'm a big fan of the 12 year old and have usually enjoy this neat. However, it seems as if Diafeo has changed the flavour profile somewhat and it doesn't seem as inviting as before. There's more of a phenolic note present and the sweetness present in previous versions is not as pronounced. Could Diageo have altered the recipe in order to allow for Caol Ila to take the place of Lagavulin within the Johnnie Walker Black Label blend?

14th March 2015

Quite strange.

I feel one should enjoy a cigar with this one. Maybe a glass of water at almost sub zero temperatures on the side. It also feels too oily. Over all, it was an interesting beverage. Solid 4!

11th March 2015


opened this a few days back and thought it was ok, no big deal ,it's nice..... Took it out yesterday night, started
sipping. well, it's the next day in the afternoon now (afetr i slept of course!), and i started sipping again. I've got other bottles to savor but this Caol Ila just "got me". was it the dinner that affected my palate and taste buds earlier?.....Now, the dram is totally delicious & drinkable, neat. i'd fancy this over the bowmore 12, maybe even the Talisker 10,and it seems a bit lighter and less complex than the Laga 16 but in a good, warm & relaxed way. very, very nice....

1st March 2015


Very similar to Ardbeg 10 without the bitter chocolate finish. Not as meaty as Lagavulin, but the smoke has almost a "orchard/ fruit wood bonfire" feel. Lovely middle ground every day whisky, my favorite Islay.

19th February 2015

Best smokey finish

Tthe smokey finish with you from Scotland to the US!

18th February 2015

Sweet, salty, oily

this is sweet stuff indeed..peaty, smoky, some distant fruit but sweet sweet finish..recommend for people who seek something a little different

19th January 2015


Really nice

25th December 2014

Perfectly balanced Islay smokey malt

Islay malts are my favourite, Laphroaig especially, but Caol Ila is absolutely beautiful. Slightly subtler on the smokiness when compared to Laphroaig, but in a nice way, and with a lovely citrusy note that cuts through the smoky oiliness with a fantastic balance between the two. Love it!

19th December 2014


Not particularly noteworthy. A competent whisky, lacking personality.

16th December 2014

Tastes like chloroseptic spray.

Tastes like chloroseptic spray. I paid how much for this?????

12th December 2014

Excellent stuff

I have been nursing a bottle of Caol Ila 12 for the past 6 months. It just hit me how great this stuff really is. It has an oily brineyness to it that somehow remains delicate in nature throughout the whole experience. Like zesty fruit meets oily brine. Special stuff that will definitely make an impression. Plenty of medicinal peatiness. Great for colder weather. "Bonfires on a New England beach in Fall" - to quote Ralfy

19th November 2014

Smokin Aces

Somewhere between lagavulin and talisker you'll find this baby. It has a salty smoky nose and body en has a long and satisfying aftertaste. Second bottle for me and certainly not the last bottle. Not as sweet as a highland park 12, but has more balls!

31st October 2014


My brother in law brought Caol Ila and I brought Glenfiddich to my daughter's wedding on Martha's Vineyard last month.

Caol Ila was wonderful and to my taste others do not measure up.

10th October 2014

Better than expected

Balanced smoke and peat with fruits and sweet. Not the most challenging whisky and the finish isn't spectacular but the nose and palate is well worth the price. Definitely better than I thought it would be with some underwhelming reviews from some respectable critics. The savory flavors really match well with the oily sweetness. If only at 46% and NCF with no caramel added!

14th September 2014

Very, Very Good Whisky

I'm fairly new to scotch, but have been trying quite a few. Fell in love with Macallan 12 yo, and Highland Park 12; but decided to venture out into the smoky and peaty flavours of Islay. Heard much about Caol Ila and decided to try it. It is very, very good whisky indeed. Very smoky and powerful but just really a wonderful drinking experience (even for a beginner). Would I buy a bottle of it? . . . Absolutely. Top Shelf!

24th July 2014

by far in my top 3

I found Cao Ila the smoothest of all the Islay whisky's i have tasted. which makes for easy, enjoyable drinking. Spot on with the notes.
Scapa 16 yr so far at the top of my list followed by Bunnahabhain 12 yr (special edition reserve).

5th June 2014

Next level step

I've been drinking single malt whisky with no smokie tones for many years. Time to make a change became with Call Ila. This whisky bring me to a different level of enjoying with deeply structured aroma and very long aftertaste with absence of alcohol tone where universe of hundreds tastes requires your attention and waking up your taste sense immediately.

12th May 2014


Very specific, feels like a medicine, but God damn a perfect medicine! You keep enjoying hours after last dram. Best from highly-smoky whiskies.

10th May 2014

Nice whisky.

This was the very first smoked whisky I have been tasting and I was positively surprised about it. I still enjoy this, nice whisky indeed! gp

19th March 2014


But instead of $65 US I'd rate this at more like a $40 price. As in what I pay for Laphroaig 10 or Ardbeg 10. Doesn't make sense for it to be this price. But at $40 it would be a very decent dram.

23rd February 2014

Wonderful surprise

Purchased at very short notice in a sleety storm in Barnsley from a supermarket, on our way to a Burn's night celebration. Im not sure why i picked this one the selection was good and I'm a big unpeated fan, so was ready for some Bruichladdich. Obviously a liberal dose of peat in this one makes it almost a polar opposite. Having always had myself as not being a fan of peat, overcoming the very pungent nose introduced me to a wonderful, smooth, rich but also delicate smoky dram, doesn't suit added water. I'm so impressed I'm going to submerse myself in the world of peaked whisky and see if i need to re-evaluate my palate.. Fantastic

30th January 2014

Delicious Medicine

I got a bottle of this at Christmas during the height of a cold. By boxing day, half the contents were gone and I was feeling much happier! It's characteristically Islay, containing briney and peaty notes though it's nowhere near as aggressive as Ardbeg, Laphroaig or Lagavulin.

If you're new to Islay whisky, this one's probably the best to start you out. It has the savoury flavours of the sea and smoke, but with a gentle, warm, soft touch.

20th January 2014


At all the rave reviews for this particular whisky.
Has a very medicinal nose and oily mouth feel, the taste can only be described as that of the smell of smoke, which lingers for too long.
While not totally unpleasant its certainly not the best single malt in this market bracket but perhaps worthy of a taster.

19th January 2014


sweet and smoky, wonderful palate

9th January 2014

Became one of my faves in an instant

It's all about oil (plus some Islay peet and smoke)... Oil in the nose, oily texture, smooth oily palate. Fantastic. Long friendly finish, sweet, oily and quite spicy.

6th January 2014


I love this whisky. There is nothing more to say.

18th December 2013

On Display

I once went into a bar and someone had ordered this. It had a very good label.

17th December 2013

Lyder godt!

Køber en i julegave til min svigersøn, og satser på, at få lejlighed til at prøvesmage.

13th December 2013

Unique dram

I'm nearing the end of my first bottle of Caol Ila 12 and it's been excellent. Very unique. Positively medicinal.

11th December 2013

Probably my favorite single malt

Caol Ila 12 was the first bottle of Islay whisky I purchased for my home cabinet. I was attracted by the rumors of exquisite "balance" between sweetness and smoke, and I was not at all disappointed. I get an immediate sweetness in the nose of soft fruits, honeydew melons. Peat comes along with a minty edge. The palate follows along appropriately, with a rock-candy sweetness and a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel; the sweetness gives way to fresh-baked bread and toasted nuts. Gentle smoke dominates the finish and is ultimately carried away by that wonderful Islay sea breeze.

5th December 2013

simply heavenly

What can I say: Islay whisky from the finest

18th November 2013

Excellent Islay

This was my first Islay whisky and I really liked the smoke and peat flavors, so it made me check out a few other Islay brands like Ardbeg and Laphroaig. Those are a more expensive but also more complex and richer in taste, and I do prefer them a little bit over Caol Ila but the latter sure stand it's ground.

4th November 2013

Smoky things...

Good one. Recommended

30th October 2013

My first Islay whisky

This was my first Islay whisky but this tasted really awful. I felt sick after just nosing it a few times. I can't really explain it but it tasted really bad, even after adding some water i couldn't keep it in.

I quess Islay Whisky just isn't for me.

30th August 2013

Great stuff

Lovely whiskey, just sad that I have to wait 4 work days to get it to Sweden.
Fruity but powerful. Complex but simple. Just overall a great whiskey.

7th August 2013

Quality Islay

Reminds of the Ardbegs but re-tuned, with more pronounced, oily finish. A well balanced, smoky whisky.

27th July 2013

Good, but not outstanding

I was surprised how similar this is to the Laphroaig 10 (a littler milder perhaps). Not that that's a bad thing, but after all the rave reviews I had expected it to be quite different.

22nd June 2013

Surprises any whiskey lover!

Tried this whiskey at my friend's over the weekend and I have to admit I was not expecting such a surprisingly tasty and relatively unknown drink! Totally recommended!

14th May 2013

excellent stuff

it is true that call is aged on mainland Scotland, although nowhere in Scotland is more than 40 miles from the sea so it is not especially important...but the distilling is and Call gets a better share of copper surfaces than most..
as good as you will find d anywhere, the 12 is in fact better than the 25.
a five star dram!

8th May 2013

Not What It Seems

It always amuses me when fairly uneducated people comment on Caol Ila about it's unique Islay qualities. It is in fact taken off the Island as soon as it is Distilled and matured wholly on the mainland. Not quite what it says on the bottle!

6th May 2013

Very nice whisky

This is a very nice whisky. Also recommendable for beginners like me. I would give it 4.5 star if it was without artificial coloring.

20th April 2013

Oh that was nice, what was it ?

The answer was of course Caol Ila. This was a very nice surprise. I think I had become an Ardbeg snob. So there are other Islay's which are well worth the investment. One bottle on order please and dont spare the horses.

13th April 2013

Lovely nose, complex palate... Amazing finish

Highly recommend. The finish is long and gloriously warming. Nice balance, not as hard hitting as brother Ardbeg but complex enough for a late evening dram. Brill

12th April 2013

A keeper

Love Islay whisky and this is a very good one. A must try!

1st April 2013

Very good

Light, but packs a punch too. Nice sweetness... a must try!

1st April 2013


Light scent of medical adhesive. Definite taste of smoked meat and aftertaste of smoke or ash. For all that, it's not unpleasant. I'd try the 12 year old again, certainly try a different Coal Ila expression.

19th February 2013

There are better Islay drams

Not as good as Laphroaig 10yo or even Bowmore 12yo. I was a bit disapointed, because people brag about this dram. I guess Laphroaig spoiled me :P

8th February 2013


For people who like Islay malts but find Laphroig a bit too full on, I recommend this. It's oily, salty and grassy and kind of like a really smooth and refined version of Talisker. If you could drink embers they would taste like this!

2nd February 2013

Quite a Surprise

Went to play golf with old Navy buddies and everyone brought a flask with them, and each flask had a different whisky in it; mine having the 12 year old Caol Ila. By the time we finished playing, my flask was the only one empty because my buddies drank it all! For now on I’m keeping it to myself! Terrific whisky.

13th January 2013

Try It....Something Different...But Outstanding!

This is a Must to Try....I have never tasted anything similar to this Single Love it...or Hate it....I Love it!....Not for beginners though! beginners go with Speyside or Lowland Single Malts.

24th October 2012

Very good

Along with Bowmore 12, Caol Ila 12 is a classic example of medium peatiness and as such a good introduction to the Islay style. Less complex than the Bowmore, but none the worse for it - it delivers a good dollop of smoke and it's a great alternative to Lagavulin if you want to save a tenner.

22nd June 2012

Malt lover

Whilst I've always liked some of the Islays, I've previously stuck to a limited few and am not that taken with Lagavulin.

I was therefore really pleased to find how delicious Caol Ila is, having never heard of it before. I'm definitely going to buy some more.

7th January 2012

Du Caraio

Bao demais da conta veio..... tao bao quanto uma Cachaca de Salinas

30th November 2011


I was in NY 2 weeks ago (Nov 2011), and a Scotish lady recommended....... amazing good....

30th November 2011

One of the best

Really delightful stuff and great value for money

1st July 2010

Good whisky

Really good whisky, nice drink, nice health.)

11th June 2010

Really nice whisky!

And what a price 4 this one! GREAT STUFF'!

27th May 2010

2 dimensional delight

Peat and the sea... but boy it's good. Oily finish makes it last. An improvement on the previous Caol Ila 12. A great stereotypical Isla.

14th December 2009

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