Caol Ila 12 Year Old

Caol Ila 12 Year Old

Caol Ila 12 Year Old is a Scotch Whisky from Islay. It is aged for 12 years in American Ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 43% ABV. Caol Ila is Gaelic for “Sound (strait) of Islay” and earns its name because the distillery overlooks the body of water that separates the Island of Islay and Isle of Jura off the coast of Scotland. The distillery was founded in 1845 by Hector Henderson and due to declining sales was sold to Isle of Jura distillery and then changing hands again in 1863 to Bulloch Lode & Co. Today it is owned directly by Diageo who also owns brands like Smirnoff, Guinness and Jameson.

Despite the distillery’s sketchy past, as of recently Caol Ila is regarded as one of the best scotches available on the market. In 2005 Wine Enthusiast gave the spirit a 90/95. They also won 2 Double Gold Medals, 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver from 2005 – 2010 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competitions.

Color: Pale golden straw and looks closer to a white wine than a whiskey. Obviously there is no caramel coloring being used here.

Nose: Campfire wood, ash and pepper with hints of a sea air and fresh fruit underneath.

Body: To me it is very light, yet still has a very oily body to it.

Palate: Riesling wine sweet, white peach, grapes, banana and honey before a huge explosion of the Ashy smoke and pepper you get from the nose.

Finish: From the peppery smoky ash it becomes almost a creamy vanilla with the pepper still lingering on your tongue.

I absolutely love this Scotch and you should too! Seriously, if you are a whisky fan, but have always been intimidated by the big bad Islays, this is the spirit to ease yourself into it. This is a great one to have a cold winter night, the heavy smoke and ash is comforting and the fresh fruit is incredibly refreshing. It would make an amazing dram on a chilly spring night.

caol ila 12 pic