History of Caol Ila Distillery

For more than 100 years small steam-engined coasters known affectionately as ‘puffers’ brought cargoes of malting barley, coal and empty casks to Caol Ila Distillery, returning full whisky casks to the mainland through the Sound of Islay, the strait that separates Islay from Jura and which is know in the Gaelic language as Caol Ila.


Hector Henderson chose a remote and beautiful site to build his distillery, on the shores of the Sound of Islay


Hector Hendersons business was sequestrated and briefly taken over by Norman Buchanan owner of Isle of Jura distillery


The business was acquired by Bulloch Lade & Co, of Glasgow, important traders in whisky stocks at a time when blended whisky was increasing in popularity.


They extended and improved the distillery and built a pier at Caol Ila where the puffers could load and unload their cargo.


Bulloch Lade went into voluntary liquidation and a consortium of businessmen formed the Caol Ila Distillery Co Ltd. They continued until 1927 when The Distillers Company Limited acquired a controlling interest in Caol Ila.


Caol Ila closed because of wartime restrictions on the supply of barley to distillers.


The new distillery opened at a cost of £1 million retaining the traditional methods of malt whisky production.


Our Craftsmen have faithfully reproduced six stills from the original design to ensure the distinctive quality of Caol Ila malt whisky

To find out more, please visit our distillery.

To find out more, please visit our distillery.

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