Whiskybase
Overall rating
83.52/100
votes
2036
Category
Single Malt
Distillery
Bottler
Distillery Bottling
Stated Age
12 years old
Strength
43.0 % Vol.
Size
700 ml
Barcode
5000281016283
Added on
02 Jun 2007 2:33 pm
ColoredChillfiltered

Average value

€ 44.58

168 × in wishlist

2036 × member ratings

6031 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Caol Ila 12-year-old

205 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 83.52 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    This is the review of the very first release of the standard 12-years old Caol Ila from 2002 (hence distilled in 1990).

    [August, 2019] After an interesting old versus new head-to-head of the standard 18-years old Caol Ila edition that resulted in significant differences (3 points) I decided to do the same with the 12-years old standard edition. It is a head-to-head of the 2018 release (NEW, WB id 120834) versus this first ever bottling from 2002 (OLD, there is neither a Classic Malts logo nor a www.malts.com reference on the back label)...

    ...and the differences between these two are again significant. OLD is a typical old Traditional Scotch dram (distillate-driven, more complex, balanced all the time) while NEW shows elements of the modern whisky style already (much more wood-driven which leads to an imbalace during the finish, less complex). Guess what I prefer (by two points)?
    • Nose
      87 87
      The colour of OLD is two shades darker at old gold than NEW which is at jonquiripe corn (despite they used caramel on NEW). The nose of OLD offers a balanced sweet-peaty pofile with honeys, ripe yellow fruits, barley sugars and maritime-peaty aromas. The smoke grows stronger upon breathing without harming the balance as additional waxy and autumn floral notes join in as well. A pretty fine nose for a 12-years old, indeed1 NEW offers a quite different profile with shy unripe green fruits, more sugars and a different smokey impression (no maritime notes, rather like a cold bonfire). It is balanced too with more wood impact, but much simplier than OLD. I clearly prefer the nose from 2002.
    • Taste
      87 87
      The taste of OLD is quite bold on delicious sweet flavours over fine peat smoke notes. The fruits are present all the time as are the barley sugars, later some waxes and meaty notes (smoked bacon) join in. It is not very complex but it is a tasty mix, easy to quaff. NEW's taste is much more wood-driven with sweet barley sugars balancing the bitter tannins nicely. It is easy drinkble too but a complete different style. Again I prefer OLD clearly.
    • Finish
      88 88
      OLD arrives warming and instantly coating on the palate without distracting moments. The initial mouthfeel of NEW is warming and coating too but a little less impressive with a minor bitter-astringent moment (tannins at work). Both drams own a long finish where OLD adds some spices and herbal impressions without distracting moments at all. NEW turns more bitter during the finish with a drying mouthfeel, now the tannins of the wood take control and drive NEW out of balance, unfortunately. Water is not needed on both.

  2. Slàinte Mhath scored this whisky 87 points Administrator

    What a characterful dram this is! Caol Ila 12 is a hidden peaty Islay jewel that is underrated by many. On the nose, you get well-integrated bonfire smoke. Unlike with some of the other Islay Single Malts, the peatiness is well-balanced and does not mask the complexity of the aroma. Tasting honey-sweet in the arrival, it develops full-bodied and oily with spicy hints of oak. A fire-infused warming glow turns into a long and peaty finish, leaving behind salty sea notes. It is a consistently good whisky and one of the foundation stones of the Johnnie Walker range.

    RATING: 4.0/5.0 stars ≙ 87 pts → FIRST-CLASS
    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      87 87

  3. Ila-Maus scored this whisky 89 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      92 92
    • Finish
      88 88

  4. ColdAesthetics scored this whisky 85 points Connoisseur

    For me, one of the most underrated single malts out there, a very nice standard islay for people who are not just blind ash-horny. ;)
    • Nose
      Stronger peat level than expected, but at the same time typically Caol Ila moderately oily soft, the peat is quite sweet, which is one of the roundest Islay experiences, but still unmistakably Islay. Beautiful honey sweetness, finest lemon sweet notes, a beautiful glow like a still burning out campfire, but without ashes, brown sugar, some thyme, of course, light salt, a little bit of white grapes, probably. but that is a deception of the DE in the back of my mind that I like so much, light apricot in between
    • Taste
      Beautiful gentle salt spray on the coast, a smoldering fire, but here also no real smoke or dry ashes as other Islays, more a general "glow" of the coal, sweet forest honey with herbs in it, all typical CI here also beautiful oily-viscous, the apricot is also to be found in between, with core, sweet-bitter with the beautiful salt tick
    • Finish
      The forest honey with a bit of ash remains nice, brown sugar and young oak chips, dry herbs, medium

  5. Mordeth scored this whisky 85 points Member Senior

    • Nose
      84 84
    • Taste
      85 85
    • Finish
      86 86

  6. JNuyts scored this whisky 84 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      84 84
    • Taste
      85 85
    • Finish
      83 83

  7. DanishDistilled scored this whisky 80 points Expert Junior

    The best description I can find for this whisky is "surprisingly generic".
    • Nose
      80 80
      Was not impressed at first. After a while a smell of tar and old wooden ships comes up.
    • Taste
      83 83
      Pleasant, medium peated taste. Nothing impressive.
      A nice sweetness, burnt wood, maritime saltiness.
    • Finish
      77 77
      Dry, wooden taste.

  8. WhiskyFan2112 scored this whisky 81 points Connoisseur

    Not one of the better Caol Ila I've had, found it a bit too sharp in the finish. Many other versions have been much easier than this standard bottling.
    • Nose
      82 82
    • Taste
      82 82
    • Finish
      78 78

  9. bredstrup scored this whisky 80 points Member Senior

    Nose: Palate: Christmas cake. Spices and oaky bitterness. Not overly complex Finish: oak and more spices. A hint of citrus. Medium long
    • Nose
      85 85
      Smoke, sulfur, citric notes. Wet, burnt wood, old seaweed
    • Taste
      75 75
      Christmas cake. Spices and oaky bitterness. Not overly complex
    • Finish
      80 80
      Oak and more spices. A hint of citrus. Medium long

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