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Caol Ila Distillery



Caol Ila Distillery


Caol Ila is pronounced cull eela and is Gaelic for the “Sound of Islay”. The distillery was founded in 1846 by Hector Henderson and is beautifully situated overlooking the sound between Islay and Jura. In spite of many changes in ownership, the distillery has been in production almost constantly since it was founded with the exception of 1930 and 1937 as well as a period during WW2.

In order to meet an increased demand from the blended industry, the distillery was completely remodelled between 1972 and 1974. All buildings were torn down and rebuilt except for the warehouses which were spared. The modernization also meant that Caol Ila started to buy their malt from the centralised maltings at Port Ellen.

In the mid 1980s the distillery introduced a new product for the blended industry –the completely unpeated Caol Ila Highland. Until a few years ago Caol Ila only had one official bottling, but they have expanded their product range and now offer bottlings of for example Caol Ila 12 years, 18 years and a Cask Strength bottling.


A Selection of Caol Ila

Online Shops

Caol Ila CS







Caol Ila 12 yo 43%

£23.99   Caol Ila Cask Strength    

Caol Ila 18 yo 43%


Caol Ila Cask Strength 55%


Caol Ila 23 yo 61,7% 1978 Rare Malts


Caol Ila 15 yo Flora & fauna 43%


Caol Ila 22 yo 1974 Signatory 43% 75cl


Caol Ila 25 yo 59,4%


Short Fact: The largest distillery on Islay. Part of the ‘Hidden Malts Series’.


Character: Caol Ila have many bottlings with differences in their character, but in general a Caol Ila whisky is smoky, medicinal, peaty and slightly fruity.


* Buy Caol Ila online at Thewhiskyexchange >>


* Buy whisky online at Internet Wines & Spirits (US customers) >>


Production at Caol Ila


The water is taken from the Loch nam Ban, which is very rich in lime. Port Ellen Maltings supplies the malt, which is smoked to approximately 30-40 ppm.

Caol Ila have six very large onion shaped stills, all steam-heated. The wash stills each hold 18 000 litres, and the spirit stills hold 14 000 litres. The mash tun is made from stainless steel and requires 11 tons for each mashing. They have eight wooden washbacks, each with a capacity of 30 000 litres. The single malt whisky casks are stored in the old warehouses on site as opposed to the whisky intended for the blended industry which is shipped to the mainland for storage. The bottling is done in Glasgow.

With their annual output of 3.8 million litres, Caol Ila are the largest distillery on Islay.


Contact Caol Ila


Caol Ila Distillery
Port Askaig, Islay,
Argyll PA46 7RL

Show on map +local weather(Multimap) >>


Phone: +44 (0) 1496-302760
+44 (0) 1496-302763

Distillery Manager: Billy Stichell

Visitors are welcome after advance booking during April-October, Monday-Thursday. Admission is £4 and is refundable on purchase in the gift shop.


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