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Caol Ila

Distillery Logo



Samuel Hale
*Distillery Manager



Barrel Head


Barrel Head

head whisky maker(s)

Barrel Head


Barrel Head

Year Founded

Barrel Head


The origins of Caol Ila date back to 1846 when Hector Henderson decided to establish a small distillery in a bay near Port Askaig on Islay's east coast. Named after the Gaelic term for the Sound of Islay, the waterway it overlooked, the distillery was acquired by blender Bulloch Lade in 1857. Bulloch Lade further improved the site by constructing a substantial pier. In 1927, Caol Ila became part of DCL, now Diageo, and operated continuously until 1972 when the original distillery was replaced by a larger one equipped with six stills, solidifying its status as Islay's largest producer.

During these earlier years, before the single malt market boom, Caol Ila's whisky was primarily destined for various blends, including those produced by its parent company, most notably Johnnie Walker. When the whisky industry faced challenges in the 1980s, Caol Ila adapted by producing unpeated 'Highland style' whisky for blending purposes, ensuring the distillery's survival. To this day, unpeated whisky is made annually, with volumes adjusted based on Diageo's blending team forecasts.

In 2011, another significant overhaul occurred, with the installation of a new mash tun and additional washbacks, increasing Caol Ila's capacity to 6.5 million liters per year. During the distillery's silent period of contraction, Bunnahabhain produced the peated whisky required.

-Written (Mostly) by Robots-

Distillery Bottling

  • 1983/30 Year |Diageo Special Releases 2014| Refill American & European Oak – 55.1% Harold H.

Gordon & Macphail

  • 1996/23 Year |Connoisseurs Choice| Refill Sherry Butt #16075 58.3% Harold H.


  • 1983/35 Year |Smoky Nectar| Hogshead – 46% Harold H.

The Whisky Jury

  • 1983/35 Year - Refill Hogshead #75 – 50.3% Harold H.

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