Discover the differences between Caol Ila 12 vs Clynelish 14 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Malt is better for You!
Caol Ila 12
|Nose||Smoked ham, apple, pear|
|Palate||Red fruit, caramel, vanilla, lemon zest|
|Finish||Long, smoke, oak spice|
|Alcohol content||86 proof (43% ABV)|
|How to drink||Neat or add water|
|Similar to||Bowmore 12, Oban 14|
The nose has a prominent meaty note that brings a smoked ham-like aroma, followed by hints of apple and pear.
On the palate, Caol Ila provides a thick creamy body. Flavor hits with red fruit and caramel, followed by vanilla sweetness and a touch of lemon zest.
The finish is long, with a bit of spice to it, with a pleasant hit of smoke and an earthy and mineral note making it quite pleasing.
Caol Ila 12 is a creamy and well balanced dram, incredibly smooth and subtle on the palate, with a wonderful and unique nose and a satisfying balance of smoke and spice.
This whisky is not as complex and hard to appreciate as other Islay releases, Caol Ila is lighter and more easy-going but still interesting enough.
Caol Ila is less smoky as it distills in copper-pot stills that are less full maximizing copper contact.
But if you still find too peaty add a few drops of water and it will become more floral and sweeter.
There are a few facts worth knowing about this single malt whisky:
- Caol Ila is aged for a minimum of 12 years in traditional oak casks.
- Earned Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition
- Won Gold 2014 International Spirits Challenge.
- Caol Ila Distillery was founded in 1846 by Hector Henderson near Port Askaig on the isle of Islay, Scotland.
- 95% of Caol Ila’s distillery production is used as part of the blend of the Johnnie Walker Black Label. This whisky is a blend of 40 different whiskies and Caol Ila is part of the blend.
|Nose||Citrus, baking spice, smoke|
|Palate||Honey, pepper, ripe fruit, smoke|
|Finish||Long, bittersweet, mineral|
|Alcohol content||92 proof (46% ABV)|
|How to drink||Neat or add water|
|Similar to||Oban 14, Talisker 10|
The nose is subtle and pleasant with hints of citrus at first, followed by cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of smoke.
On the palate, the Clynelish feels waxy. Flavor hits with a bit of pepper up-front, yet nothing severe, and as you let it develop honey and ripe fruit appear, along subtle smoke.
The finish is long and bittersweet with a mineral touch to it.
Clynelish 14 is a nice and tasty easy drinker. It is complex, creamy, rich in malt, smooth, striking a nice balance between fruity and spicy notes.
It has a subtle taste and warmth which pleasantly lingers giving a touch of peat in the after taste.
Its mouthfeel can be a bit peppery at times but I strongly suggest to take your time with this Scotch, let it develop in the glass and add a bit of water.
The Clynelish becomes remarkably better with just a few drops of water as it opens-up nicely.
Overall, Clynelish is a Highland Whisky, displaying some of the peaty notes that you would expect to find in an Islay Whisky and the sweet and smooth notes from a Speyside Scotch making it particularly interesting.
There are a few facts worth knowing about the Clynelish 14:
- Aged for 14 years in bourbon and sherry barrels.
- The original Clynelish distillery was built in 1819, next to the present operational Clynelish distillery, which was built in 1967.
- Clynelish is the successor to Brora which closed in 1983.
- This brand is owned by Diageo, the British spirits giant, who also owns Johnnie Walker among several other brands.
- 95% of Clynelish distillery productions goes into Johnnie Walker’s blends and is major contributor to the Gold Label.
Caol Ila 12 vs Clynelish 14: Price comparison
Prices are approximate and stated in USD:
|Caol Ila 12||$84|
Caol Ila 12 vs Clynelish 14: Which is better?
Similar whiskies light on the smoke
|Whiskey||Caol Ila 12||Clynelish 14|
- The Caol Ila 12 is marginally better as it delivers a more pleasant finish, although it’s a bit pricey for a 12 year old Single Malt.
- The Clynelish requires water and a bit of patience to fully be enjoyed as it can feel peppery on the first sips.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico where I have tasted hundreds of different spirits; perhaps more than I should!