Whiskybase
Overall rating
83.46/100
votes
2285
Whiskybase ID
23
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

€ 44.45

187 × in wishlist

2285 × member ratings

6857 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Caol Ila 12-year-old

223 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 83.46 points

  1. Slàinte Mhath scored this whisky 87 points Super Administrator

    Many moons ago, it was a dram of Caol Ila 12 that ignited my passion for whisky, and what a journey it has been. Time to revisit my old friend! On the nose, puffs of twiggy bonfire smoke give way to green apples, lemon and briny hints of seawater. Heather honey, black olives and peppery oak spices drive the full-bodied and oily taste, always accompanied by well-integrated sooty salinity. Citrus fruits, subtle vanilla and complex tea notes linger in the long and peaty finish. I'm biased, I know, but this characterful Islay malt is still overlooked and underrated!

    RATING: 4.0/5.0 stars ≙ 87 pts → FIRST-CLASS
    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      86 86

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  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. riegerjonas scored this whisky 84 points Expert Senior

    2021-04-10
    • Nose
      light smoke, vanilla, slightly musty, stronger smell than the Distillers Edition., light sherry, pleasant sweetness, sweet light fruits, sour, pear, nectarine, banana, peach, strawberries
    • Taste
      light summer smoke, somewhat musty, spicy
    • Finish
      medium-intensive shortly after dark chocolate with a high cocoa content

  6. jvanopstal scored this whisky 82 points Member Senior

    At first sight a typical heavy peated Islay whisky, but surprisingly sweeter and more delicate than expected
    • Nose
      81 81
      Heavy peated with also fruit scents (citrus)
    • Taste
      82 82
      Oily with some smoke. Lighter than expected from its smell. Later more fruit
    • Finish
      83 83
      Long with smoke and sweet flavours

  7. LDB scored this whisky 82 points Connoisseur

    Okay, but it comes across as a bit rough and industrial with cutter diesel, heavy fuel oil and a sooty smokehouse.
    • Nose
      83 83
    • Taste
      82 82
    • Finish
      81 81

  8. Benjamin_Wang scored this whisky 86 points Member Senior

    Light and fresh, with a lot of smoke.
    • Nose
      Creamy, sweet, and citrus. A lot of smoke, iodine, and sea spray.
    • Taste
      Sweet smoke, mild with lemon, citrus, light vanilla cream.
    • Finish
      Fresh and long smoke and maltiness, vanilla, balanced.

  9. Der_Schnappulierer scored this whisky 83 points Member Senior

    Some would say boring about Caol Ila 12, I think it's delicious and just calmly honest. A distillery that for me stands for solid craftsmanship and high quality, despite the large quantities that are bottled. Clear recommendation for the small budget!
    • Nose
      83 83
      Sweet, with vanilla, apples and citrus fruits, moderate smoke and salt. Very clear and open.
    • Taste
      82 82
      Oily and soft, smoke, although I find the salty taste to be even more pronounced. Some ash in the background, nice sweetness and citrus aromas.
    • Finish
      84 84
      Oily, ash, some oak and ham. Excellent!

  10. Saftkenner scored this whisky 84 points Expert Senior

    Nice, and a really very independent standard bottling in terms of flavor at a very fair price. Of course, I would be happy if Caol Ila switched to 46% drinking strength, but that is probably not to be expected, any more than with Lagavulin.
    • Nose
      84 84
      Clearly noticeable smoke, stronger than usual with Bowmore, weaker than a Lagavulin or Laphroaig. The smoke aroma of this Caol Ila also has something quite unique, as if you had thrown fresh oranges into the fire, over which a fresh sea breeze blows. In addition, vanilla, delicate oak spice, slightly musty linen cloth and overripe kiwi.
    • Taste
      84 84
      Slightly oily despite the low drinking strength. Smoke, orange, mushy kiwi, vanilla, a little salt, delicate oak spice (Bourbon barrel) and honey.
    • Finish
      83 83
      Medium length. A slightly ashy smoky note remains with honey and the softened kiwi fruit.

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