The Whiskyphiles

Whiskyphile, noun [C] specialized / ˈwɪs.ki.faɪl / a disciplined devotion to whisky. Established 2013.

Caol Ila

Caol Ila Distillery

Caol Ila Distillery

Region: Islay, Scotland

Founded: 1846

Status: Active

Owner: Diageo

Water source: Loch Nam Ban

Mash tun: 13.5 tonne full lauter

Washbacks: 8x wooden, 2x stainless steel

Stills: 3x wash 3x spirit

Capacity: 6.5 million litres per annum

History:

Caol Ila is derived from Gaelic Caol Ìle for “Sound of Islay” (lit. “Islay Strait”) in reference to the distillery’s location overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura. It was founded in 1846 by Hector Henderson. The distillery did not fare well, and changed hands in 1854 when Norman Buchanan, owner of the Isle of Jura Distillery, took over. In 1863 the business was acquired by Bulloch Lade & Co, of Glasgow, traders in whisky stocks. By the 1880s over 147,000 gallons of whisky were produced there each year.

In 1920 Bulloch Lade went into voluntary liquidation, and a consortium of businessmen formed the Caol Ila Distillery Company Ltd. In 1927 the Distillers Company acquired a controlling interest in Caol Ila, and in 1930 Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd obtained ownership of all the shares. The distillery closed during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, because of wartime restrictions on the supply of barley to distillers. From then, production continued until 1972, when the entire structure of the distillery was demolished. A larger distillery was then built, designed by George Leslie Darge in the same architectural style as many of his others with his trademark glazed curtain walls to the still houses, and production resumed in 1974. The company eventually became part of Diageo.

Caol Ila Whisky Reviews:

  • Caol Ila 10 Years Old 2003 – Cask Strength ~ 59.6% (Gordon & MacPhail) - Caol Ila 10 Years Old 2003 – Cask Strength Islay single malt scotch whisky 59.6% ABV, £53.95 available from Royal Mile Whiskies Score: 86/100 What they say: A 2003 vintage Caol Ila released by independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail as part of the Cask Strength Series. Distilled on September 10, this was aged for 10 […]
  • Caol Ila 10 Years Old 2003 – Small Batch ~ 46% (Cadenhead’s) - Caol Ila 10 Years Old 2003 – Small Batch Islay single malt scotch whisky 46% ABV, £75 for 70cl Score: 86/100 What they say: Distilled in 2003 at the Caol Ila distillery on Islay and aged for 10 years in Bourbon Hogsheads before producing 738 bottles at 46% Nose: Initially sweet, then wet ash comes […]
  • SMWS 53.222 The Three Little Pigs Caol Ila 13 Years Old 2000 53.222 The three little pigs ~ 58.4% (SMWS) - Review: Caol Ila 13 Years Old 2000 – 53.222 The three little pigs Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky Origin: Caol Ila distillery Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask 53.222 The three little pigs ABV: 58.4% Cost: £51.80 from SMWS [sold out] Score: 86/100 What they say: 53.222 The Three Little Pigs Once upon a […]
  • Caol Ila 15 Years Old 1998 Unpeated – 2014 Special Release ~ 60.3% (Diageo) - Caol Ila 15 Years Old 1998 Unpeated – 2014 Special Release Single malt scotch whisky 60.3% ABV, £75 for 70cl Score: 84/100 What they say: This limited edition cask strength single malt comes from a batch made just once a year, from unpeated malt, for blending in the Highland Style. It has a surprisingly clear […]
  • Scotch Malt Whisky Society Caol Ila 16 Years Old 1996 53.191 Candy Fruit Filled Seashells ~ 56.3% (SMWS) - Caol Ila 16 Years Old 1996 – 53.191 Candy Fruit Filled Seashells (SMWS) 56.3% ABV, outturn 245 bottles, £59 for 70cl (Coal Ila) Score: 74/100 What they say: Cask No. 53.191 The initial nose neat was like a salty sea breeze standing on a sand dune, soon followed by antiseptic notes of germolene as well […]
  • Caol Ila 17yo OMC Caol Ila 17 Years Old 1996 Cask 10123 Old Malt Cask ~50% (Hunter Laing) - Caol Ila 17 Years Old 1996 Cask 10123 – Old Malt Cask ~50% (Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd) 50% ABV, £80 for 70cl Score: 85/100 What they say: A 1996 vintage Caol Ila from independent bottlers Hunter Laing as part of their Old Malt Casks series. Aged for 17 years before bottling, this is a […]
  • Caol Ila 1994 Sassicaia Gordon & Macphail Private Collection Caol Ila 18 Years Old 1994 Sassicaia Wood Finish – Private Collection ~ 45% (Gordon & MacPhail) - Caol Ila 18 Years Old 1994 Sassicaia Wood Finish – Private Collection (Gordon & MacPhail) 45% ABV, £70 for 70cl Score: 86/100 What they say: Caol Ila Distillery – Founded in 1846, Caol Ila has remained an almost secret Islay malt. The name – pronounced ‘culleela’, is gaelic for ‘Sound of Islay’. The distillery is […]
  • Caol Ila 18 Years Old 1995 53.198 Wasabi on a California roll ~ 59.1% (SMWS) - Caol Ila 18 Years Old 1995 – 53.198 Wasabi on a California roll Single malt scotch whisky 59.1% ABV Score: 84/100 What they say: An image of an old derelict wooden pier by a pebble beach on a hot sunny day with ageing lobster pots. Fresher notes appear with time; steamed fish with spring onions, […]
  • The Whiskyphiles SMWS 53.178 bottles Caol Ila 20 Years Old 1992 53.178 A pebble beach with iodine ~ 55.8% (SMWS) - Caol Ila 20 Years Old 1992 – 53.178 A pebble beach with iodine (SMWS) 55.8% ABV, £68 for 70cl Score: 80/100 What they say: The distillery overlooks the Sound of Islay and this example of its make is as clean and elemental as the sea itself: salt and seaweed – a pebble beach (rounded but […]
  • Caol Ila 2004 Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2004 (Bottled 2016) Connoisseur’s Choice ~ 46% (Gordon & MacPhail) - Whisky Review: Caol Ila 2004 (Bottled 2016) Connoisseur’s Choice Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky Origin: Caol Ila Distillery Bottling: Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur’s Choice ABV: 46% Cost: £42.43 from Master of Malt What they say: In the mid-1960s Gordon & MacPhail took the unprecedented step of launching a range of single malts under the […]
  • Caol Ila 22 Years Old 1992 53.193 To bring a smile to every face ~ 49.9% (SMWS) - Caol Ila 22 Years Old 1992 – 53.193 To bring a smile to every face Islay single malt scotch whisky 49.9% ABV, 10cl bottle received in SMWS membership gift pack Score: 86/100 What they say: Cask 53.193 The nose has harbours, sea-shells, smoked fish, Dolly Mixtures, waxed jackets, leather, oak, smoke and soot. Deliciously juicy […]
  • SMWS 53.212 Peat smoke and para handy puffers Caol Ila 22 Years Old 1992 53.212 Peat smoke and Para Handy puffers ~ 56.4% (SMWS) - Review: Caol Ila 22 Years Old 1992 – 53.212 Peat smoke and Para Handy puffers Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky Origin: Caol Ila distillery Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask 53.212 Peat smoke and Para Handy puffers ABV: 56.4% Cost: £89.60 from SMWS [sold out] Score: 87/100 What they say: 53.212 Peat smoke and […]
  • Caol Ila 25YO Caol Ila 25 Year Old ~ 42% (Diageo) - Caol Ila 25 Year Old (Official Bottling) 42% ABV, £130-165 for 70cl Score: 85/100 What they say: Launched in 2010 this is a 25 Year Old Caol Ila bottled at 43% ABV Official Tasting Notes Appearance: Full gold, medium viscosity. Aroma: Without water, sweet-spicy, fresh sea air notes with hints of preserved fruit, perhaps. Adding […]
  • Coal Ila Cask 985 Caol Ila 26 Year Old 1988 Oloroso Cask #985 ~ Cask strength (Diageo) - Caol Ila 26 Year Old 1988 Oloroso Cask Finish [Cask #985] (Single Cask Sample) ~ low 50’s % ABV (at a guess), £ priceless Score: 86/100 What they say: Distilled in 1988 and matured for 26 years, this Caol Ila expression has been finished in an Oloroso sherry cask. Served directly from the cask we […]
  • Caol Ila 27 Years Old 1983 Cask 1118 ~ 46% (Carn Mor) - Caol Ila 27 Years Old 1983 Cask 1118 Islay single malt scotch whisky 46% ABV, £19.50 for 20cl Score: 92/100 What they say: The Carn Mor Vintage Collection is a truly unique Single Malt Whisky anthology. 24 single malt scotch whiskies, from 24 individual casks, from 24 selected distilleries, from 24 different vintages all bottled at […]
  • Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2001 Moscatel Finish Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2001 Moscatel Finish ~ 43% (Diageo) - Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2001 Moscatel Finish (Official Bottling) 43% ABV, £45-£70 for 70cl Score: 84/100 What they say: Each Distillers Edition expression undergoes a second (or ‘double’) maturation in casks that have previously held a fortified wine. This extraordinarily stylish and complex expression of Caol Ila has been double-matured in carefully selected Moscatel casks. […]
  • Caol Ila lineup Caol Ila Feis Ile 2013 – Triple Matured ~ 56.5% (Diageo) - Caol Ila Feis Ile 2013 -Triple Matured (Official Bottling) 56.5% ABV, £100 for 70cl from Caol Ila Distillery shop Score: 87/100 What they say: “Spirit distilled in 1998 has been triple-cask matured. For 12 years it rested in a combination of Refill Butts, Hogsheads and Barrels. The vatted whisky was then allowed to mature for […]
  • caol-ila-moch Caol Ila Moch ~ 43% (Diageo) - Review: Caol Ila Moch single malt scotch whisky Caol Ila Distillery – Diageo 43% ABV £41.39 from Master of Malt Score: 82/100 What they say: Taking its name from the Gaelic for ‘dawn’, Moch is a wonderful newcomer from this renowned distillery. It is the first single malt from Caol Ila to be selected for […]
  • Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve 2013 Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve 2013 Special release ~ 50% (Diageo) - Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve 2013 – Diageo Special releases (Official Bottling) 50% ABV, £70 for 70cl Score: 82/100 What they say: A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt. From Caol Ila, an active distillery on the Isle of Islay. A eighth limited release of unpeated Caol Ila. From a batch made only once a year, […]
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