Caol Ila was founded in 1846 when Hector Henderson built a distillery in a bay on the east coast of the island and it was expanded 11 years later by Bulloch Lade with the construction of a new pier. With two stills it was a significant producer of whisky on Islay but in 1972 the old distillery was demolished and replaced with a new building.
This new Caol Ila Distillery opened in 1974 had six stills, which helped establish it as Islay’s largest producer, doubling the amount produced by Laphroaig. At this point, it was renowned for being used in blends, but it has also been building up a shining reputation as a single malt in both peated and unpeated expressions.
Caol Ila’s location certainly plays a role in the spirit that’s produced there, with a smoky, briny sense of the sea air that is absorbed by the casks that house the whisky. There’s a variety of whiskies available from the distillery including several popular independent bottlings, making it a worthwhile investment for any whisky enthusiast.