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Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Years - 2015
International Whisky Competition
Islay up to 12 years old - 2015
The Scotch Whisky Masters (The Spirits Business)
Distillers' Single Malts 12 years and under - 2014
International Spirits Challenge
Nose: Fresh, herbal. Rubbed peppermint leaves, stemmy, damp grass, smoky. Oily, cigar leaves, smoked ham, hickory.
Palate: Good body, oily, tar, elegant smoke. Hints of boiled sweets.
Finish: Long, peppery, spicy warmth, smoke.
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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
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
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 forYour 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
Caol Ila 12 Y.is 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
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
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
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
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
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
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, startedsipping. 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
Tthe smokey finish with you from Scotland to the US!
18th February 2015
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
25th December 2014
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. I paid how much for this?????
12th December 2014
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I once went into a bar and someone had ordered this. It had a very good label.
17th December 2013
Køber en i julegave til min svigersøn, og satser på, at få lejlighed til at prøvesmage.
13th December 2013
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
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
What can I say: Islay whisky from the finest
18th November 2013
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
Good one. Recommended
30th October 2013
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
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
Reminds of the Ardbegs but re-tuned, with more pronounced, oily finish. A well balanced, smoky whisky.
27th July 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Love Islay whisky and this is a very good one. A must try!
1st April 2013
Light, but packs a punch too. Nice sweetness... a must try!
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
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
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
This is a Must to Try....I have never tasted anything similar to this Single Malt....you Love it...or Hate it....I Love it!....Not for beginners though! beginners go with Speyside or Lowland Single Malts.
24th October 2012
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
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
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....
Really delightful stuff and great value for money
1st July 2010
Really good whisky, nice drink, nice health.)
11th June 2010
And what a price 4 this one! GREAT STUFF'!
27th May 2010
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