The distillery – which means ‘Sound of Islay’ in Gaelic – had a rocky start, with a few failed attempts at running it by a series of well-intentioned whisky operators. By the 1920s, it had fallen into the hands of DCL, which would later become Diageo. The distillery is still active and continues to be owned by Diageo.
The distillery’s main purpose over the years has been to provide malt for blended whiskies although a limited selection is bottled as single malt. Its current capacity is 6.5 million litres per annum.
Due to its prevalence in blending, Caol Ila is less well known on the whisky tourist map compared to its fellow distilleries on Islay, but the distillery announced in 2018 that a major revamp was on the way and a new visitor’s centre is due to be in the near future.