Caol Ila Distillery

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Pronunciation cull’eela Pronunciation
Translation Sound of Islay
Region Islay
Distiller United Malt & Grain Distillers Ltd. (UMGD)
Owner United Distillers & Vintners (UDV) (Diageo plc)
Address Port Askaig
Isle of Islay
PA46 7RL
Telephone +44 (0)1496 - 30 27 60
+44 (0)1496 - 30 27 63 (Fax)
LatLong 55° 51’ 15.0” N   06° 06’ 32.6” W
Altitude 1 m
Grid Reference NR429699
Open to public March - October : mo - fr tours at 09:30, 10:45, 13:45 and 15:00 by appointment only
From November to March restricted tours available
Admission charged
Children under 8 years not admitted to the production areaSource : Islay & Jura Distillery Tour Times 2008 leaflet

Built by Hector Henderson, also owner of the Camlachie distillery, Glasgow
by 1852
Henderson, Lamont & Co. when bankrupt
Distillery acquired by Norman Buchanan who continued until bankrupt
Sold to Bulloch, Lade & Co., proprietors of Camlachie, who extended and rebuilt the distillery (1857 mentioned as well)
Incorporated as a limited company
Liquidated and sold to J.P. O’Brien Ltd. who resold it later that year to the Caol Ila Distillery Co. Ltd., subsidiary of Robertson & Baxter Ltd.
The Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL) and its associates obtained control
Transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (SMD), which acquired all the shares
The decision was taken to demolish the entire distillery, except for the warehouses, and built a bigger one at the same place in the same architectural style as the original. New and better equipment was installed. The amount of stills was extended from two to six. Licensed to Bulloch, Lade & Co. Ltd., Glasgow
Production resumed
First Single Malts bottled by owners
Licensed to United Malt & Grain Distillers Ltd. (UMGD)
Owned by United Distillers & Vintners Ltd. (UDV)
Owned by Diageo plc

Technical Specifications
General Water Source
Loch nam Ban
  Annual Output 3,500,000 litres of alcohol
  Finished Spirit (phenols) Caol Ila : average 12 - 13 ppm
Caol Ila Highl
  Blending Roles
Johnnie Walker range, Bells, Black Bottle
Malt Malt Source Port Ellen
  Malt Type Optic
  Malt Specification (phenols) Caol Ila : average 35 ppm
Caol Ila Highland :
  Own Malting Floor no
  Malt Storage 250 tonnes
Mill Porteus, installed late 1950s
  Grist Storage 23 tonnes
Mashing Mash Tun 1 cast iron, steel bottom, copper top, Lauter
  Mash Size 11.5 tonnes
  First Water 42,000 litres at 68.5°C
  Second Water 13,500 litres at 76°C
  Third Water 44,000 litres at 79°C
  Fourth Water n/a
Fermentation Washbacks 8 made of Oregon Pine
  Washback Charge 54,000 litres
  Yeast Mauri cultured yeast
  Amount of Yeast 150 kg per Washback
  Length of Fermentation 80 hours (shorts, week)
120 hours (longs, wee
  Initial Fermentation Temp. 16°C
  Strength of Wash 8% abv
Distillation Wash Stills 3, onion shaped, 35,345 litres each
  Wash Still Built all : 1974
  Wash Still Charge 18,000 litres (51% of capacity)
  Heat Source steam pans
  Wash Still Height 23 feet (7 m)
  Lyne Arm 10° descending
  Low Wines Run c. 4 hours
  Low Wines Collection Range 42% - 1% abv
  Spirit Stills
3, onion shaped, 29,549 litres each
  Spirit Still Built all : 1974
  Spirit Still Charge 11,000 - 12,000 litres (37% - 41% of capacity)
  Strength of Spirit Still Charge c. 28% abv
  Heat Source steam coils
  Spirit Still Height 20 feet (6.09 m)
  Lyne Arm 5° descending
  Coolers 6, internally sited, each 10 feet 6 inches (3.2 m)
  Foreshot Run c. 25 - 30 minutes
  Spirit Run 2.5 - 3 hours
  Feints Run 3 - 3.5 hours
  Spirit Cut 75% - 65% abv
  Distilling Strength 70.5% abv
Storage Storage Strength 63.5% abv
  Average Spirit Yield 403 litres of pure alcohol per tonne of malt (2003
  Disposal of Pot Ale/Spent Lees dispersed in Sound of Islay
  Type of Casks 100% second-fill and third-fill American oak hogsheads and barrels (for Hidden Malt series)
  Warehouses 1 on Islay, dunnage, rest on mainland, racked, but all stock now tankered off Islay for filling and ageing
  Vatting and Bottling Location matured at Blackgrange, Cambus, Carsebridge, Menst


Distillery Manager
Billy Stitchell

Sources used