Whisky Connosr
Shop Join

Caol Ila 12 Year Old

Winter Dram

4 583

@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

29th Jan 2017


Caol Ila 12 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

Show rating data charts

Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Caol Ila is the big work horse of Islay that produces peated whisky for Diageo's blends, of which Johnnie Walker Black Label is the best known one. But it stands on its own as a single malt without any problems. There is a reason why Coal Ila is my favorite Islay whisky. This 12 Year Old is the entry level malt that can be had for as little as 35 EUR. I try a recent bottling, from February 2016. The nose is soft and sweet on caramel, apple and lime. Loads of dried grass and a touch of fish oil. Then something that reminds me of green olives, but with a medicinal twist. The smoke is rather mild. If you leave it for a length of time, it will turn a touch sour. It is wonderfully oily and very spicy from the start. The first sip offers peat and maritime elements, the second leaves a bit of room for the citrus. A soft peppery note and some wood counterfoot this. It is nicely balanced. The long finish keeps the mouth warm. At the death you get another salty uppercut that floors the sweetness. For that price, this Caol Ila should be in your cabinet. Wonderful winter dram. Thanks for the sample, Pat!

Related Caol Ila reviews


BlueNote commented

I couldn't agree more, Mark. It's a nice, uncomplicated easy drinking Islay and always my fallback dram when I can't make a decision. I would probably tweek the rating up to something between 85 and 88. Nice review, thanks.

7 years ago 0

Pierre commented

I served this as part of Burns Night tasting I led for Waitrose. I was limited to whiskies they stocked and chose this even though I hadn't tasted it for years. What a wonderful whisky! It went down very well with the guests, some of whom claimed not like peated whisky. They liked this one and so did I!!! Well worth revisiting.

7 years ago 0

RianC commented

@Pierre - My partner seldom likes whisky and detests peaty ones. Oddly, she quite liked this, said it tasted like salty lemons. Underrated. Like @BlueNote I'd have given my last bottle mid - high 80s.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

@RianC I liked this but after tasting the CS version I couldn't go back. Sure I would gladly accept if offered, and I have, but a bottle would never get finished at home.

6 years ago 0

RianC commented

@Nozinan - I have a 100 proof Port Askaig and a 12 year old G&M bottling waiting with intent. I'm especially looking forward to the CS (almost) version.

What would say the main differences are with the 12 and CS ? I wasn't expecting too much from the 12 but I was pleasantly surprised - hence the subsequent purchases relaxed

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

You must be signed-in to comment here

Sign in