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24 Year Old Caol Ila bottled to mark 175th Anniversary

What you need to know:

  • Caol Ila released a 24 Year Old commemorative bottling to mark its 175th anniversary in 2021.
  • 3,000 bottles released, bottled at 52.1% ABV, was priced at US$399.
  • Bottle features key notes of fresh fruits and peat on the nose, sweetness, brine and pepper on the palate, with a long finish of spice, cocoa and smoke.
  • Overpriced, but as expected, all swept in a couple of hours. Core range 25 Year Old Caol Ila goes for US$100 cheaper.
  • Cop the Drop or Not Verdict: Not


The 24 Year Old bottling was released (belatedly) to commemorate the Islay distillery's 175th anniversary. (Image Source: Diageo)

Caol Ila, the Islay distillery known for its smoky, briny, zesty, bonfire malt whisky, has released 3,000 bottles of a 24 Year Old bottling to commemorate its 175th anniversary.

The inspiration for the label on the bottling comes from the Islay distillery being nestled on the eastern edge of Islay, close to neighbouring Jura island. As a result, the distillery's name stems from the Gaellic name, "The Sound of Islay", where the distillery faces eastward and as such, is amongst the first distilleries to feel the warmth of the morning sun and sees first light, casting an illumination across the distillery's doors. The rays that flood through the windows are said to give the copper stills a soft glow, where it has seen 64,000 sunrises over its 175 year history.


‘It’s fantastic to celebrate over 175 years of Caol Ila with a brilliant bottle,”

“I’m sure it will be a hit with our fans, who we look forward to welcoming when we open the doors to our re-imagined visitor experience.”

- Sam Hale, Distillery Manager


Official Tasting Note:
Clean and fresh with a whisper of camp-fire smoke and a subtle hint of rich, buttery pastry.
A soft honeyed sweetness balanced with a prickle of sea salt and light smoke.
A long and warming finish with a light charred smokiness and a delicate kick of spice



The whisky, bottled at 52.1% ABV, is described as "An elegant Islay Single Malt with a sumptuous cornucopia of fresh fruits on the nose, followed by a powerfully peaty whisper of smoke. On first sip an intense sweetness lights up the palate, balanced with a kiss of salt and a delicate kick of pepper. A long, warm finish with a prickle of soft spice, rich cocoa and the lingering smoke of glowing campfire embers."

It is released at an RRP of 295 GBP or $399 USD.



Our Take

This bottle was actually very quietly released and belatedly! Of the 3,000 bottles released, it ended up mostly in the hands of astute observers of the malts.com webpage where it was retailed online. For those who managed to get their hands on it, kudos to you, it sounds pretty great - classic Caol Ila.

That said, some things could be said about its hefty price tag. I suppose that's one way to crowdfund the refurbishment of the distillery, alongside three others - Glenkinchie, Cardhu and Clynelish, which in total costed Diageo a nice little US$260.6m.


Cop the Drop or Not Verdict: Not


The standard 25 Year Old Caol Ila in the core range costs about $100 USD less. Suppose that's the memorabilia premium.