Whiskybase
Overall rating
83.52/100
votes
2160
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

€ 43.74

176 × in wishlist

2160 × member ratings

6362 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Caol Ila 12-year-old

209 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 86 points Expert Senior

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

  4. Edward MacKenzie scored this whisky 86 points Expert Junior

    I always like it better!
    An outstanding standard, PLV almost unbeatable!
    Gentle, soft smoke, not medically.
    Rather chimney smoke.
    Islay-typical salty, sea breeze, sea spray ...?
    Citrus but not as strong as Bowmore.

    Who does not know him yet, definitely try!
    Also for advanced very recommendable!

    86/100

  5. 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

  6. Igor_Gudimov scored this whisky 88 points Member Senior

    • Nose
      Sweet fruity(apricot or peach) peat campfire coal smoke
    • Taste
      Sweet fruitiness(apricot or peach) with oily peat campfire coal smoke
    • Finish
      Long, ashy, sweet brown sugar

  7. Svarttt scored this whisky 84 points Expert Junior

    Still a very underrated malt. Smoke that is not too intrusive, nice citrus notes, decent mouthfeel. Sensible ABV. What more could you want from a 12 year old original bottling.
    • Nose
      84 84
    • Taste
      84 84
    • Finish
      83 83

  8. bodevami scored this whisky 71 points Member Senior

    • Nose
      70 70
      Peat, dry soil, wild nature, tar
    • Taste
      72 72
      Sweet, again the peat, few other flavors discovered
    • Finish
      72 72
      Short but sweet

  9. martinbutterfly scored this whisky 83 points Expert Junior

    ***
    ????: white wine
    ????: intense peat, warm seaweed, fresh, cut, young, slightly biting, sweet,
    ????: spicy, astringent, intensely peat, slightly spicy, sweet, flattens quickly,
    ????: smoky, sweet, short, slightly warming, a bit tart at the end
    *
    Basic "warm and seaweed" peat, no special depth etc, it was a bit short of "OK".
    *
    ????: 3.5 / 10
    ????: 83/100

  10. Mordeth scored this whisky 85 points Member Senior

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

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