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Caol Ila 12 vs Lagavulin 16: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Caol Ila 12 vs Lagavulin 16 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Caol Ila 12

caol-ila-12
  • Nose: Smoked ham, apple, pear.
  • Palate: Red fruit, caramel, vanilla, lemon zest.
  • Finish: Long, smoke, oak spice.

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.

Overall, Caol Ila 12 is the best option for those who want to start drinking peaty whisky but are not ready to deal with the heavyweights such as Ardbeg, Lagavulin or Laphroaig.

Caol Ila is one of the best 12 year single malts you can buy today!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this single malt whisky:

  • Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV).
  • Caol Ila is aged for a minimum of twelve 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.

Lagavulin 16

lagavulin-16
  • Nose: Smoke, vanilla, caramel and iodine.
  • Palate: Tobacco, seaweed, fresh fruit, smoke.
  • Finish: Long and spicy, with notes of figs, vanilla and… smoke!

Lagavulin 16 has a strong aroma of smoke and sea salt along sweet notes of vanilla and caramel.

Flavor is rich, with a delicious blast of smoke, caramel, along fruity sweetness. The peatiness is incredibly well balanced against some caramel sweetness, rich, smooth and delicious.

This whisky is creamy and smooth and pleasantly warm.

The finish is long, sweet and pleasantly warm, with more smoke to it.

Lagavulin 16 is a great malt with a strong but still enjoyable peaty profile with delicious sweetness.

The long aging period diminished the smoky notes a bit whilst adding the sweet vanilla from the bourbon barrels. This is one of the best peaty single malts in the market.

If you find yourself overwhelmed in smoke add a few drops of water, that will open-up the Lagavulin making it sweeter, while tuning-down the peat and will become easier to sip.

This is a Scotch to enjoy neat with a few drops of water to open it up making it more approachable.

Learn how it compares to the Lagavulin 8!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Lagavulin 16:

  • Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV).
  • Lagavulin is aged for 16 years using ex-bourbon barrels.
  • Named the “Best Single Malt Whisky” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013.
  • 6 Double Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Lagavulin distillery was founded in 1816 by John Johnston and Archibald Campbell, is located in the village of Lagavulin on the south of the island of Islay, Scotland.

Caol Ila 12 vs Lagavulin 16: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Caol Ila 12$83
Lagavulin 16$110

Caol Ila 12 vs Lagavulin 16: Which is better?

Lagavulin 16 is a smoky-monster

WhiskeyCaol Ila 12Lagavulin 16
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Lagavulin 16 is one the best whiskies in its type but demands an experienced aficionado to truly enjoy the strong peaty note that newbies will find overwhelming.
  • Caol Ila 12 is great whisky and more approachable to most consumers as its peaty notes are way friendlier.
  • If you are already a seasoned aficionado that have enjoyed peaty whiskies such as Ardbeg or Talisker you are going to like Lagavulin which is a delicious dram.

What do Caol Ila and Lagavulin have in common?

Both are owned by London-based Diageo

Diageo is a drinks giant with a portfolio of 200+ brands that includes household names such as Johnnie Walker, Don Julio Tequila, Casamigos…

These distilleries contributes with malts to Johnnie Walker’s blended whiskies.

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