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Caol Ila is pronounced “Cull Eela”. It’s the Gaelic name for the Sound of Islay, which separates the island from Jura. For some, the distillery’s pronunciation is as remote as its location, sitting as it does on the rugged eastern coast, where it has remained hidden from view since 1846. However you say it, the fine, smoky whisky produced by generations of islanders is worth exploring.
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Expert ReviewsInsights from some of the best in the business
Iodine, fresh fish and smoked bacon feature on the nose, along with more delicate, floral notes. Smoke, malt, lemon and peat in the drying finish.
Gavin D Smith, Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015, p.93
q>This version shows its character the best, a nose that mixes seashore and grass with a distinct hint of smoked bacon. The peatiness isn’t dominant, but flows throughout the palate, scenting, lifting, and subtly changing the mix. A delicious oiliness makes it a great food whisky.
Dave Broom, Whisky Advocate Summer 2012
This is a splendid Coal Ila. It is wonderfully vibrant. Understandably, the immediate impact on the palate is the peat smoke, but there's so much else going on here, too: smoked olives, seaweed, salt and pepper, all placed on a gently sweet bed of toffee and vanilla fudge. Lingering smoke, olives, and seaweed on the finish.
John Hansell, Whisky Advocate Winter 2004
A balanced expression of peat in this version. A lot of intricate aromas in this dram.
Martine Nouet 2005, Whisky Magazine, Issue 50
Better balance than the cask strength. The peat is at same level, but a greater range of aromatics has been brought out. Complexity emerges.
Dave Broom 2005, Whisky Magazine, Issue 50
Barbecued fish and seaweed on the nose, oily bacon-fat, squeezed lemon and sweet smoke on the palate, immensely satisfying citrusy seaside barbecue of a finish.
Dominic Roskrow, Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015, p.93
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