Caol Ila is a workhorse, producing more than double the annual output of any other distillery on Islay. Traditionally much of that juice made its way into blended whisky on the mainland. Nowadays, the lighter single malt rolling of their lengthy, copper stills is in increasing demand — from connoisseurs and casual consumers, alike. A lofty, glass-encased still-house exposes the mechanical innards, visible from the surrounding Islay Sound. The Premium Tasting & Tour is a 90-minute affair, concluding with a comprehensive sampling flight in the property’s historic cooperage.
Power move: If you’re already quite familiar with the workings of a distillery, skip the tour and opt instead for the Whisky & Chocolate Pairing: five variations of Caol Ila, lined up against artisanal confections. Each chocolate is selected to annunciate the dark, roasted components of its complementing whisky.