Your review pretty much sums up my feelings about Caol Ila 12. The first time I tried it I knew I was going to like it, but didn't.
Next time around I figured I just had to be more patient with it and give it another chance, but no change for me - my first impression stayed unchanged and while I won't close the door on it, I can't picture ever buying a bottle.
It's not a popular opinion, but I liked the Bowmore 12 much more and for a gentler Islay have no problem with buying that again.
Looking forward to your Lagavulin 16 review.