Overall rating
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Stated Age
18 years old
43.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Added on
11 Dec 2013 9:54 am

Average value

€ 103,16

71 × in wishlist

913 × member ratings

2351 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Caol Ila 18-year-old

76 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 86.31 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    This is the review of the very first release of the standard 18-years old Caol Ila from 2002 (hence distilled in 1984).

    [August, 2019] Tonight is the night to do a long-planned old versus new head-to-head of the standard Caol ila edition, this 2015 release (NEW, WB id 96997) 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 the two are really significant. Of course, both present the lovely Caol Ila DNA but OLD indeed offers a complex and bold old-stylish profile while NEW rather goes for the modern wood-driven whisky "zeitgeist" that is much more simple and (to me) rather boring. Do not get me wrong, still the new 18-years old Caol Ila is a nice dram to drink but its profile lacks a lot of personality compared to its 2002 sibling.
    • Nose
      89 89
      The colour of OLD is one shade darker at old gold while NEW is at yellow gold (despite they use caramel to adjust it). The nose of the two drams is very different: Old offers a truy old-stylish profile with lots of nice OBFs , fruits, honeys, waxes, oils, herbs and significant maritime peaty aromas. This is the adorable sweet-peaty profile from the best years of Caol Ila (simply check the ratings of older vintage 1984 bottlings - 2002-18=1984). Contrary to OLD the NEW release shows much more bitter-herbal wooden notes but misses both the fruity-sweet and maritime flavours almost completely. What a difference!
    • Taste
      90 90
      The taste of OLD is layered and greatly chewable so it offers all its delicious flavours like in a parade. The sweet fruits and barley sugars, the maritime peaty notes , the spicy wooden flavours and many more impressions are in a perfect balance without any flaw. Great stuff to quaff! NEW's taste is not layered, unfortunately and dominatted by bitter-peaty flavours with the sweet notes playing a minor role only. It gets rather drying-astringent over time - but again: still NEW is a fine dram that I like to drink. Nonetheless it is a three points difference to OLD.
    • Finish
      90 90
      The initial mouthfeel of NEW is warming and just a little coating without distracting moments while OLD arrives absolutely charming and instantly coats the whole of the mouth. Of course it shows no distracting moments either. OLD's finish is long and vanishes in several fading waves without any distracting moments again. All stays harmonic and balanced and the old-style waxes and earthy notes form a grande finale. The finish of NEW is shorter but still medium to long and stays on the bitter-astringent side (with additional eucalyptus notes, just like the end of the taste was). Again, this is enjoyable but a huge difference to the 2002 edition. Water is not recommended on NEW as it just flattens the dram. OLD is a better swimmer but still I like it best when neat.

  2. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 86 points Connoisseur


    Early this year I wrote [with regards to an 11yo Caol Ila WB] ‘I’m reminded how much I love Caol Ila almost everytime I have it‘. It’s weird then that I rarely buy it,… maybe because it’s always there? I bought this because the price was insanely good. Let’s see where the official 18yo is at in 2018/19.

    N: Dry yet moorish cereal-sweet barley with subtle onion-y > > pickled onion-y, peaty & husky desiccated coconut-y aromas.

    T: Dry-not-dry husky creamy smoky < barley with oily/buttery coconut topped off with a herbal/candle wax, vanilla essence-d icing and a curious combo of boot polish and pub style pickled whelks, a splash of cider and an even smaller splash of lager-lime top. How very 19,… you choose the decade.

    F: Light-smokey barley, dirty lemon-y oily garage floors, some coppery > iron fillings,… concluding with husky peaty dry barley with light black tea, remnants of nicotine and just a hint of menthol-y Jif/Cif-like dry lemon. Finishes true on sweet malted barley.

    C: Over time it showed itself as a dependable deliver-er and yet totally unmoving as if the life had left it before it had even reached the bottling plant. It did however really improve after being poured into an empty glass with the remnants of an Old Elgin 8yo [WLP]. It was the caramel banana > molasses that gave it some body/balls. Maybe this and Deanston 12 would work for a Douglas Laing Double Barrel?

  3. PatSch23_12 scored this whisky 85 points Expert Senior

    Good. Not more, not less.
    • Nose
      Tart and sour grapefruit, fresh, mineral-chalky, comparatively little (campfire) smoke perceptible, thyme, warm potting soil, some pine needles, very subtle vanilla
    • Taste
      oily on the tongue, cold, ashy smoke, tingling tart citrus notes (again the grapefruit), candied ginger, sourish, slightly salty, smoldering hay (with a few flowers, delicate floral)
    • Finish
      bitter green tea

  4. hs305 scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    [May, 2017]  I had this dram during the Manager's Masterclass tasting at Caol Ila open day (Feis Ile).  So it is the most recent batch.

    When this 18 year old was first released in 2002 I instantly loved it for its boldness and rich flavours.  And the price was very okayish back then with just 55 Eurobucks.  Since then I regularly try new batches and still they are all good.  But there are significant differences too, so the newer batches became more woody and drying due to heavy tannins (obviously they fell victim to the cask supply shortage too as many other standard whiskies did).  Nevertheless a very nice and easy-to-drink dram with a charming peaty-sherry-vanilla profile.
    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      86 86
    • Finish
      85 85

  5. LeChiffre scored this whisky 88 points Expert Senior

    Beautiful maritime powerful Caol Ila with the typical fresh citrus note. Very interesting and complex, in comparison to the 25J a bit fresher and more maritime-powerful.
    • Nose
      87 87
      fresh fruity sweetness; Citrus flavors; maritime; Seaweed; nice smoky note (campfire); spicy oak
    • Taste
      88 88
      powerful maritime; Seaweed; also in the taste fresh sour-fruity sweetness (citrus); salty; beautiful oak in the background; great smoky note (campfire)
    • Finish
      88 88
      long; salty; maritime character; spicy; nice smoky note (campfire)

  6. Varrek scored this whisky 85 points Member Senior

    Really balanced and round. Good start to people who trying to get into peat and smoke whisky - not so aggressive
    • Nose
      85 85
      campfire smoke, vanilla, fruits. Sweet
    • Taste
      86 86
      smoke together with sweetness, vanilla, lemon. A little bit spicy
    • Finish
      84 84
      ashy, oak, pretty long

  7. Horror_Vacui scored this whisky 87 points Expert Junior

    Caol Ila 18yo (Batch L7255)

    You notice first of all that the smoke here is much more restrained. A campfire on the beach, with moist wood and seaweed, whose scent is carried from a distance to the nose. Where he has lost smoke, he has gained fruit. The green apple is joined by red, while the citrus is juicy peach. Licorice, some freshly grated nutmeg, the wood is noticeable. Fine herbal scents: thyme, a little coriander.
    A complex nose that invites you to take a long time to sniff, the smoke does not show any medical notes here.

    In the mouth, it is initially slightly astringent. The 18-year-old is also much more fruity and the smoke is finely integrated in the form of a light ashiness. Apples, peaches, a little pear compote, almond slivers, rum grapes, a few drops of brine, olives, herbs and oak spice.

    Long, only slightly ashen, for the first time the oak dominates. Light grape sweetness.

    Very well balanced, a malt without blemish and blame. The cultivated smoke is good for him, the fruitiness and the oak spice in the finish as well. Only that the price jump from 12 to 18 is quite high, is a bit steep.

  8. EnjoyLife89 scored this whisky 90 points Expert Junior

    There's a lot to discover. A 5cl sample is not enough to explore everything. With each sip opens up new impressions. Find him really exciting
    • Nose
      87 87
      Smoke; Iodine; maritime spicy; fruity and sweet; almost a bit herbaceous and malty, a hint of vanilla
    • Taste
      92 92
      Unbelievably mild start; mild smoke; sweet; then sweet; gets a bit salty, absolutely maritime; then sweet again; Oak binds beautifully; becomes minimal sharper over time, but remains permanently sweet.
      Interesting mixture between sweet, tart, smoke and citrus. Something is there (direction herbs). There's a lot to discover. After the third sip, a peppery spiciness also builds, but not too intrusive. Really good
    • Finish
      90 90
      getting a little drier; sweet; then citrus; sweet again; permanently beautiful, mild smoke but rather towards campfire, already partially extinguished; Again citrus; Malt,
      Over time, the oak becomes stronger, slightly astringent, reminiscent of dark chocolate or coffee, but then evaporates and turns into citrus and fruit. Insanely multi-faceted

  9. Totoro scored this whisky 88 points Expert Senior

    An absolute classic. A well-composed and well-aged peated whisky that boasts a beautiful balance of sweet, savory, and fresh notes. Herbal, maritime, salty, with a dash of fruits and an underlying sweetness. Not one for fans of full-frontal smoke; this is rather refined and elegant. I prefer this over the 25-year-old, which is more musty and less well-defined in comparison.

  10. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 86 points Connoisseur


    N: Very light and with light smoke, this is a comforting aged/malty/smoky number with a touch of leather and subtly integrated coastal & tarry notes. I try for more but in this setting, fail to get anything but a general sense of youthfulness & balance with fair/straight forward complexity.
    T: Pretty fine juice with a nice chew and a feeling of more ‘power’ than the previous two. On the other hand, it’s a little fidgety/ungainly and somewhat simple, though balanced.
    F: A long subtlety smokey finish with chocolatey liquorice raisins.
    C: Sits comfortably between the youthful 12yo and the far older 25yo in the Caol Ila range.


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