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Caol Ila 12 vs Laphroaig 10: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Caol Ila 12 vs Laphroaig 10 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 is the best option for those who want to start drinking peaty whisky but are not ready to deal with overpowering smoky notes like in the Ardbeg 10.

I’ve included Caol Ila in the list of the best 12 year single malt whiskies reflecting how good it is.

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 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.

Laphroaig 10

laphroaig-10
  • Nose: Smoke, sweetness, oak and coffee.
  • Palate: Full-bodied, charred oak, smoke, chocolate, honey, vanilla, iodine.
  • Finish: Long, smoke, toffee.

Laphroaig does not smell nice as it offers a rubber note up-front. There are also hints of smoke, caramel, oak and espresso coffee.

On the palate, you get a blast of smoke and oak char up-front. As you let it develop, it becomes remarkably sweet, rich in vanilla, caramel and chocolate.

Finish is long, smoky and mostly sweet with a rich mineral note to it and something that reminds of seaweed.

This single malt is a flavorful and intense whisky with a smoky character and some unique tasting notes that might be a bit intimidating for someone new to this type of whisky.

Laphroaig 10 is really good, but don’t expect to like it on the first date. It’s a bit demanding requiring at persistent drinker to fully appreciate it. But once you get acquainted with it it’s unlikely you will ever enjoy a lesser dram.

I’ve included Laphroaig among the best 10 year liquors.

Learn how it compares to the Ardbeg 10!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV).

  • Aged for 10 years in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks.

  • Gold medal at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

  • Named in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible as 2019’s Best Single Malt Scotch 10 Years & Under.

  • Laphroaig Distillery was founded in 1815 by Donald and Alexander Johnston. It is named after the area of land at the head of Loch Laphroaig on the south coast of the island of Islay.

  • During Prohibition, it was one of the few liquors legally imported into the United States, as it was considered a medicinal spirit!

Caol Ila 12 vs Laphroaig 10: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Caol Ila 12$83
Laphroaig 10$64

Caol Ila 12 vs Laphroaig 10: Which is better?

Caol Ila is an easier drinker

WhiskeyCaol Ila 12Laphroaig 10
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Those new to smoky whisky or looking for a smooth and mellow “everyday pour” will be better served with the Caol Ila 12 which is easier to enjoy than the Laphroaig 10.

  • Laphroaig 10 is a heck of a dram, incredibly good but demands a more seasoned drinker to fully appreciate its tasting notes rich in smoke and that foul smell.

Personally, I prefer the Laphroaig as I am very fond of deep peaty notes but you have to assess your own preferences.

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