Caol Ila 25-year-old

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Stated Age
25 years old
Number of bottles
43.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Bottle code
Added on
22 Jun 2010 11:13 am

Average value

€ 190.39

115 × in wishlist

1509 × member ratings

4471 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Caol Ila 25-year-old

128 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 88.52 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 91 points Connoisseur

    [May, 2017]  I had this dram during the First Annual Caol Ila Feis Ile Dinner (yes, this was the official name of it!) at the Ballygrant's Inn.  And I did it head-to-head versus the 30-years old (WB id 58218).

    Colour:  Both have the same colour of old gold (yes, Diageo uses caramel to fix it that way).  The texture of the 25y shows some fast fat legs and late sticky tears.  The 30y shows early but very small tears and some late slow legs and fat tears.

    Nose:  The 25y offers this adorable sweet and strong phenolic profile with maritime aromas and some nice OBFs that I adore, one to sniff for hours.  The nose of the 30y is more subtle but on the same profile.  Hard to say which one is better - the 30y is more complex and delicate while the 25y is more powerful and impressive. Finally I opt for the 30y.

    Mouthfeel:  The 30y instantly coats the whole of the mouth with a slightly peppery feeling but without any distracting (bitter or drying) moments.  That is really good!  Surprisingly the 25y is smoother than the 30y on the mouthfeel but at least as much coating.

    Taste:  A very mellow and complex sweet-peaty-phenolic-maritime profile on the 25y that is multi-layered, really excellent.  The 30y counters this with more punchiness (surprisingly) and a greater complexity of flavours adding more spicy and malty aromas to it than the 25y.  But again I like the 25y a little better (on a very high level).

    Finish:  Both are very long with the 30y vanishing in several waves without any distracting notes.  Close to perfection it is (remember Yota)!  The 25y finishes a little shorter (just long, not very long...), but again without any flaws or off-notes.  This round wins the 30y year old.

    Water is not needed on both (it does not really harm and smoothen the drams even further, but it takes away some power, too).  I am really blown away by the high quality of both drams, the only flaw is the drinker-unfriendly price tag choosen by Diageo for the 30 year old.  I am willing to pay as much as 250 Euro for the 30 year old - but not a single Cent more!
    • Nose
      91 91
    • Taste
      92 92
    • Finish
      91 91

  2. Archer scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    Start with a very relaxed nose. And when you think, 'was that now?' he opens up wonderfully and delivers beautiful "elderly" flavors. And that both in the nose, as well as on the tongue. I like it very much. Until recently you could find it for less than 100 €. Now he's getting dressed, but still worth his money.
    • Nose
      In the distance a little bit of soft smoke, hardly noticeable. And like a breeze over again. A lightly spicy bacon note comes, raisins and figs work forward. At first rather discreet and restrained, the sweetness of the dried fruit unfolds its full force after a short time. Now come also leather and tobacco notes, to fine-sour chocolate and vanilla. Nice development in the nose.
    • Taste
      This is where the peat smoke on the tongue makes itself felt right at the beginning. However, he is withdrawn just as quickly as when Verriechen. Also on the tongue comes after a while a nice bacon note, in addition to old leather and: beautiful old oak planks. Vanilla and milk chocolate are coming. Over time, the "elderly" taste on the tongue tart, peppery, almost furry - and then gets the curve to a pleasantly fluffy creaminess.
    • Finish
      Medium to long, pleasantly dry, plum sweet and with returned fine smoke.

  3. hs305 scored this whisky 91 points Connoisseur

    [September, 2017]  What is better:  A batch that contains the flavours of many different casks or a carefully selected single cask release?  To check this I selected two 25-years old Caol Ila from the great 1984 vintage for a head-to-head namely this original bottling (OB) bottled May, 19th, 2010 and a Bladnoch Forum release (BF, WB id17481) with 52% abv.

    Colour:  The OB is at old gold (but remember Diageo uses caramel to fix the colour) while the BF is at jonquiripe corn.  The texture of the BF shows medium fast legs and many small sticky tears.  The OB shows much slower legs and late fat sticky tears so its oiliness is better.  

    Nose:  The OB offers a real great nose on lots of different aromas with adorable peaty, fruity, malty and spicy wooden notes and some OBFs.  It is very complex and beautiful balanced, one to sniff for hours.  The BF is more closed due to the abv but owns a peaty, malty and wooden profile too, just the fruits are shy in the background.  I like the OB more here.

    Initial mouthfeel:  The OB instantly coats all of the mouth with a warming feeling, no distracting moments (just as the texture promised).  The BF is coating too (but less than the OB) and it has a slight drying feeling (metallic).  Again I like the OB better.

    Taste:  The BF shows a peaty-barley sugary-herbal flavours profile that is somewhat layered and easy to sip.  The OB is truly multi-layered and multi-flavoured on the palate, very delicious.  I do not name all the different flavours but it adds nice chocolatey and honey-sweet notes to the peat and fruits.  This is simply "lecker".  I prefer the OB by several points.

    Finish:  Both own a long finish that nicely vanishes in waves.  The OB is really sticky here and I still taste it even after minutes with all of its beauty.  No bitter or drying notes at all.  The BF adds more sugars to the finish and has no distracting moment either.  Nevertheless I prefer the OB again.

    Water opens the BF up and the nose gets more complex as does the taste - now it comes closer to the OB and guess what, I like it best when reduced to about the same strength as the OB.  Water is not needed on the OB (it just gets flatter).

    So this head-to-head showed a clear result:  A batch of many (good) casks provide a greater aromas and flavours variety and a more balanced profile than just a single cask (of course, it all depends on which single cask was choosen).  As all bottlings of the 1984 vintage of Caol Ila (that I tasted so far) were great the 2010 Diageo 25-year old should be and indeed is a stunner.  I tasted all later 25-year Diageo Caol Ila releases and they are good too, but this one is the best so far.
    • Nose
      91 91
    • Taste
      92 92
    • Finish
      91 91

  4. peatbogger scored this whisky 91 points Specialist

    A great thank you to Slàinte Mhath and Feorag86 for this generous 700ml "sample" :-)
    A good representative of the more matured and more rounded and refined side of Islay.
    • Nose
      92 92
      First thing to hit the nose is a light sweet fruityness.
      Quite a bit of citrus, but a very sweet kind, almost sugary orange.
      Also apple peel and melon.
      There's smoke, very lightly peated. Nowhere near the Islay peat in younger peated Caol Ila.
      Even so, leave the glass for a while and there are notes of slightly sour maritime peat and smokey bacon sitting on top of the glass.
      Deeper down some fine leather notes, and some very nice roasted barley.
      A really great nose, delicate and nicely ballanced.
    • Taste
      90 90
      Texture is not quite up to oily, but it's mouth covering and sticky.
      Smoke and peat more prominent on arrival, then it kind of retracts.
      Some fruity sweetness that I can't define, as it is rapidly over powered by dried meat, leather and slightly salty chocolate.
    • Finish
      91 91
      The smoke returns in the finish.
      With it a groving sweetness.
      A pinch of salt.
      Quite long and pleasant.

  5. BarrelBeast scored this whisky 87 points Expert Junior

    Youtube Review: https://youtu.be/5mnD_hUuRfA
    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      85 85
    • Finish
      90 90

  6. Slàinte Mhath scored this whisky 90 points Super Administrator

    If you could buy a 25-year-old Ardbeg or Lagavulin for way under 200 €, most peatheads would go nuts. Not so with Caol Ila, which has always puzzled me. Delicate, complex and surprisingly fruity, the aroma ranges from peach, lemon oil and mild spices to pinewood, soot and hints of sage. Flavorwise, the peat smoke has taken a back seat, while aromatic, citric and slightly resinous notes mingle with eucalyptus, honey and white pepper. Espresso, salmiak and even a touch of gin fade in the gentle finish. Showcasing the quiet side of Islay, this is a superb malt.

    RATING: 4.4/5.0 stars ≙ 90 pts → SUPERB [-]
    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      91 91
    • Finish
      89 89

  7. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur


    N: Superbly balanced, ideally aged Caol Ila through and through. Of the core range, this is the one I have the biggest soft spot for. It’s reasonably priced too.
    T: Enjoy this one neat if you can. Water almost kills it, save for the sweet vegetal smooth oily/briny chew.
    F: A deeper finish than the previous expressions, though with rougher/edgier coal=char & straight peat smoke action.
    C: Pretty much ideal Caol Ila, though the 12yo & 18yo can be as equally superb.

  8. Moses scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    I had times somewhere for just under 100 EUR. From this top PLV, it was not far to try this malt. Now I'm glad to have 2 more of it. House whisky.
    • Nose
      91 91
      The nose is a dream. A campfire by the sea with sweet fruits and leathery soft smoke. Bright apples as well as spicy dark herbs peat. Christmas ingredients like nuts, clementines in a dusty, musty leather bag. Is there some thyme in the background? Very very fine.
    • Taste
      87 87
      The palate does not hold what the nose promises. But wonderfully oily and creamy, he goes to the mouth. Now more towards wood campfire and tender coffee notes. Salty troche fruits in the middle part and the sour apple in addition. Alright, but not as good as expected. Nevertheless top level.
    • Finish
      89 89
      Medium to short but soft, this dried fruit with off-drying oak and spicy wood notes. Some citrus notes with sweet peat and again the sea breeze. Very pleasantly mild and soft, he seduces constantly to refill. Class malt.

  9. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur


    N: Pretty dreamy. Vegetal, soft smoky toasted vanilla, some fruit decay, mature ‘open’ soft French cheese[s] [but which ones?], a smidgen of soot=shoe polish and liquorice wood [spot on Serge]. It’s all perfectly soft for my nose.
    T: A decidedly firm savoury/mulch-y/malty start, the mouthfeel dry-oily and moving chocolate-y and the smokiness deep and subtly penetrating. More toasted vanilla again, a touch squidgy-malty-spongy and medicinal hints equal to more liquorice wood.
    F: Once the smoked vanilla sponge settles, it’s decidedly dry, ashy and vegetal-sweet – the spirit smoky-clean.
    C: Showing no lack of commitment at 43%, 25 years+ has delivered a wonderfully mature, super-chilled Islay malt that goes for a very respectable €140 [Sept ’17]. One of my favourite smokers this year.Scores a B[+]

  10. Totoro scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    Beware of batch variation...
    • Nose
      89 89
    • Taste
      86 86
    • Finish
      86 86


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