Caol Ila Islay 12 Year Old is of medium weight, but still packing plenty of potent phenols, this is a refined, powerful dram with a compensating oiliness. A balanced, peaty beauty. 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.
Caol Ila Islay is a staple powerhouse of Islay scotch whisky. Now owned by Diageo, it is the largest producer on Islay in terms of quantity. The whisky that isn’t placed into Caol Ila single malt bottles goes into Johnnie Walker or other blends, because the beautiful balance of peat adds a wonderful complexity and mystery where needed.
In fact, it’s importance in the blended Scotch world is indeed the reason for Caol Ila’s modern day success. However, the Caol Ila 12 being reviewed here, along with their 25-year and unpeated releases, is the reason Caol Ila shines in the public eye.
Caol Ila 12 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is the colour of pale straw, with a delicate balance of tastes. The tapenade brings out Caol Ila’s smoke and salt notes, while the mix of capers and herbs accentuates the vegetal flavours.
Fresh, herbal. Rubbed peppermint leaves, stemmy, damp grass, smoky. Oily, cigar leaves, smoked ham, hickory. Lemon peels at the harbour.
Good body, oily, tar, elegant smoke. Hints of boiled sweets.
Long, peppery, spicy warmth, smoke.