In the classic Islay style, Caol Ila is made predominantly with peated malt and the resulting phenols have a big influence on the final flavour of the whisky, as does the salty coastal air that the casks ‘breathe’ during maturation. One of the most approachable Islay malts.
Caol Ila is the Gaelic name for the Sound of Islay, which separates the island from Jura in one of the most remote and beautiful parts of Scotland's West Coast. The distillery is situated on the shores of the Sound, a spot originally chosen in 1846 partly because of the clean water from Loch Nam Ban which still provides its main supply. And even today you can still watch the seals in the Sound from the still room.
When you sip this tempting, easy-drinking malt, well, at first you’d know you were in Islay – but you might not know where. Well-known whisky writer, Michael Jackson, pinpoints the smooth, olive-like house style, calling Caol Ila “a wonderful aperitif”.
Sniff the air over a glass and smoky, sea-fresh aromas recall an age, not so long ago, when fishing and cutting peat were the traditional occupations in these parts. Few men make a living cutting peat on the island today, but the old traditions live on in the skills of our distillery workers and in the ingredients they still use at Caol Ila.
“Caol Ila has remained undiscovered by many. However, its deserving rise in popularity saw the release of three new age statements in June 2002. This malt is a fantastically balanced Islay with wheat beer/cloves and wet grass/light salt fish subtleties.” David Broom, whisky writer and expert.