Caol LLA

Caol Ila Distillery

  • USA, Kentucky
  • 2005 Caol Ila 12-Year Garners Multiple Awards, 2005 Caol Ila 12-Year Praised by Wine Enthusiast, Caol Ila’s Aged Expressions Earn Recognition
Phone Number
  • +441496302769
  • Caol Ila Distillery, Port Askaig, Isle of Islay, PA46 7RL, UK

White distillery building by the waterfront.

History of Caol Ila Distillery


Nestled on the shores of the Sound of Islay, the Caol Ila distillery boasts a rich history that dates back to 1846. Founded by Hector Henderson, the distillery has been producing premium whiskies for generations. 

Overlooking the majestic Paps of Jura, the distillery’s location offers not just scenic beauty but also the pure spring water from Loch nam Burn, essential for crafting its distinctive whiskies.

The barley used in Caol Ila’s whiskies is malted locally at Port Ellen, ensuring the finest quality and authenticity in every bottle. Over the years, the distillery has introduced a range of whiskies, including the renowned Caol Ila 12 Year Old and 25 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskies. 

Each expression reflects the dedication to preserving traditional methods while embracing innovation.

Today, Caol Ila stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Hector Henderson and the generations of craftsmen who have contributed to its success. 

Whether you’re a whisky connoisseur or a curious enthusiast, a visit to Caol Ila offers a journey through time, celebrating the art of whisky-making and the spirit of Islay.

Awards Won by Caol Ila Distillery

Caol Ila distillery’s expressions have been recognized and acclaimed at various spirit ratings competitions. 

The 12-year expression has notably secured two double gold, three gold, and one silver medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition from 2005 to 2010. 

Additionally, in 2005, Wine Enthusiast awarded it an impressive score of 90-95. While not reviewed as often, the 18- and 25-year expressions have also consistently received favorable ratings.


Caol Ila Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Nestled on the North-Eastern shores of Islay, the Caol Ila distillery offers breathtaking views across the Sound of Islay, stretching to the magnificent Paps of Jura. The distillery, pronounced as ‘Cull-Eela’, has been a hidden gem since its inception, producing some of the finest whiskies known to enthusiasts.

For those looking to immerse themselves in the world of whisky, Caol Ila offers a range of tours and experiences:

Flavour Journey Tour

This signature tour is a full-sensory, immersive experience. It includes a comprehensive distillery tour followed by a guided tasting session of 3 distinct drams. To top it off, participants are treated to a wee cocktail, which they can savor in the distillery’s bar, all the while soaking in the picturesque views of the Paps of Jura.

Spirit of Smoke

Cask Draw & Tasting: Tailored for the true whisky aficionados, this tour offers a unique opportunity to sample five exclusive cask-strength Caol Ila expressions. These whiskies are special editions, available only at the distillery. The tasting session is conducted in the distillery’s Maturation Warehouse, adding to the authenticity of the experience.

Visitors also have the chance to purchase the Whisky Gift Card, which allows the cardholder to shop for top whiskies and merchandise at various visitor experiences in Scotland, including renowned brands like Johnnie Walker Princes Street, Talisker, and Lagavulin.

Additionally, the distillery offers a unique shopping experience. Visitors can purchase a rare and personalized memento by bottling their own whisky and even engraving it with a message of their choice. The retail area also showcases distillery exclusives, clothing, and accessories, making it a haven for whisky enthusiasts.

For those planning a visit, advanced booking for these tours and experiences is highly recommended to ensure a spot. The distillery also has specific policies for visitors with pets, so it’s advisable to check their guidelines if you plan on bringing your dog.

The distillery operates from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with slight variations in timings based on the season. However, during winter, there might be unexpected closures due to weather conditions, so it’s always a good idea to check their Google listing for the most up-to-date information before planning a visit.

For more details and to book a tour, you can visit their official website at

Flask & Barrel Review of Caol Ila Distillery

As a whiskey collector who’s been on more distillery tours than I can count, I’ve gotta say, this one’s right up there with the best. First off, the location is just killer – those views across the Sound of Islay? Breathtaking. And the Paps of Jura in the distance? Picture-perfect.

The Flavour Journey Tour was a treat. I’ve tasted my fair share of drams, but the ones here? Top-notch. The guided tasting was super informative without being too technical – just the right balance. And that wee cocktail at the end? A delightful touch.

Now, the Spirit of Smoke tour? For a collector like me, it was like being a kid in a candy store. Those exclusive cask-strength expressions? Pure gold. I even got to bottle my own whisky and, of course, added it to my collection.

The only tiny hiccup? I wish the shop had a few more merchandise options. But hey, that’s just me being picky. All in all, Caol Ila Distillery gets a solid 4.7/5 from this whiskey enthusiast. If you’re into whiskey, this is a must-visit. Cheers!

What To Do Nearby Caol Ila Distillery

While on the scenic Isle of Islay, near the Caol Ila Distillery, there’s an assortment of attractions and activities to immerse in, each exuding its own unique charm:

Bowmore Distillery

Distance: 9.72 miles from Caol Ila Distillery.

Highlights: Explore another emblematic distillery and savor the brass-colored distilled wine showcased in large barrels​​.


Distance: Approximately 2.75 miles from Caol Ila Distillery.

Highlights: Delve into history at this site on Eilean Mòr in Loch Finlaggan, housing the intriguing ruins of Finlaggan Castle amidst the serene Loch and island scenery​​.

Skipness Castle

Distance: About 30.6 miles from Caol Ila Distillery.

Highlights: A majestic ancient monument, the castle along with the nearby Kilbrannan Chapel beckons with its centuries-old charm and surprisingly well-preserved structure​​.

Kilmartin Museum

Distance: Around 30.8 miles from Caol Ila Distillery.

Highlights: Journey through the ancient history of the region and explore archaeological sites and stone circles in Kilmartin Glen at this family-friendly museum​​.


Distance: Approximately 31.1 miles from Caol Ila Distillery.

Highlights: A quaint tidal island with a historical signal station and a row of cottages built for lighthouse keepers, offering a glimpse into the maritime past​​.

Ross of Mull

Distance: About 31.2 miles from Caol Ila Distillery.

Highlights: An outdoor enthusiast’s haven offering bouldering, rock climbing, walking, cycling, and kayaking amidst a historically rich setting​​.

Each destination carries its own allure, whether it’s the allure of Scotch whisky, the whispers of ancient ruins, or the call of the wild outdoors. It’s a diverse menu of experiences, promising a richly textured exploration of Islay’s heritage and natural beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Caol Ila Distillery?

Here are the top 3 restaurants near Caol Ila Distillery with a rating of 4 or above:

Ballygrant Inn: Rural Inn offering modest rooms, plus a whisky bar, a Scottish restaurant and 2 fireside lounges. It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441496840277. Their address is Ballygrant, Isle of Islay PA45 7QR, United Kingdom. 

Peatzeria: Restaurant serving pizzas, burgers, and seafood dishes. It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441496810810. Their address is 22 Shore St, Bowmore, Isle of Islay PA43 7LB, United Kingdom. 

The Lochside Hotel & Restaurant: Chic hotel with views over Loch Indaal, plus a harbourside restaurant & a whisky bar. It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441496810244. Their address is 20 Shore St, Bowmore, Isle of Islay PA43 7LB, United Kingdom. 

What hotels are near Caol Ila Distillery?

Here are the top 3 hotels near Caol Ila Distillery with a rating of 4 or above:

Skerrols House: Understated rooms with free WiFi in an elegant rural B&B, plus a guest lounge and gardens. It is located at Bridgend, Isle of Islay PA44 7PF, UK. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441496810520. 

Lochside House Hotel, Lodges and Spa: High-end hotel featuring posh rooms, a sleek restaurant/bar, landscaped grounds & a spa. It is located at New Cumnock KA18 4PN, UK. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441290333000.

Persabus farm, Accommodation and Pottery: Country-style B&B on an 18th-century farm with a ceramic workshop/cafe, plus cottages & a campsite. It is located at Port Askaig, Isle of Islay PA46 7RB, UK. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441496840243.