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Islay Whisky

Islay (pronounced ‘eye-luh’) whiskies are among Scotland’s most powerful, thunderous drams. Often with plenty of peat and smoke, brine and medicinal flavours, of all the whisky regions of Scotland Islay has attained a truly iconic status. When compared to the various drink producing regions of the world, be it the Grande Champagne designation of Cognac or the first growths of Bordeaux, or that distant island, Madeira, there is something magical about the illustrious Scottish Isle, some 35 miles from the coast of Northern Island.

There are some nine distilleries on the Isle. To the North there lies Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila, to the west of Loch Indaal sits Bruichladdich and further west, the newly founded Kilchoman - Scotland’s most westerly distillery. To the centre of the isle sits the mighty Bowmore, but it is from the southern coast, not far from Port Ellen and the closed distillery of the same name, that the most pungent whisky emanates, produced by the trio of leviathan Ileach distilleries; Ardbeg, Lagavulin and of course Laphroaig. There is a defined power to the whisky, peat being the obvious attribute, certainly the best associated. Smoke is both a flavour of its own, but is intrinsically linked with peat. The peat flavour is imparted during the barley malted process, the smoke used to dry out the barley is produced by burning peat.

There is a marked reduction in peaty power to the far north; the malts of Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain are comparatively soft. In Bruichladdich’s case it is due to the relative shelter from the elements that the Rhinns proffers. For Bunnahabhain it is the unpeated malt and the water source, the Margadale springs, cutting their course in stoic avoidance of the peat beds of Islay. Islay single malts also have a refined salinity; there is a profusion of seaweedy, kelp-rich whiskies.

This is often attributed to the terroir. The Islay distilleries possess a relative close proximity with the sea, all of which save for Kilchoman, the only inlander. The sea spray is said to whip across the warehouses, the salty air penetrates the barrels and flavours the maturing whisky. Of late, whiskies from Islay have become increasingly sought after.

Islay Whiskey

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Islay whiskies are very popular these days, and with bottles like this 23 year old Caol Ila being incredibly tasty, we're not surprised! This bottling comes from Montgomerie's Rare Select collection.  More info
$237.05
A 2001 vintage Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, independently bottled by the fine folks at Gordon & MacPhail. A fab Islay dram, matured in first fill bourbon barrels and bottled as part of Gordon &...  More info
$86.38
The Tantalus range from Duncan Taylor is one for the collectors out there. All the whiskies in the range are extraordinarily rare, most of them having matured for over 40 years. Once Duncan Taylor...  More info
$2310.13
14 year old Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky, bottled for the Old Malt Cask range by Hunter Laing. 563 bottles were produced.  More info
$115.03
The 2014 release of Kilchoman's Machir Bay single malt Scotch whisky is here! For the third release in the series, Kilchoman have produced a vatting of 5 and 6 year old ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso...  More info
$67.02
A 23 year old single malt from the Bowmore distillery, aged completely in port casks to compliment the floral and peaty flavours the Islay distillery is known for. Because it's such a special release...  More info
$534.31
Bunnahabhain around 20-21 years old seems good at the moment. Hard to miss to be honest.  More info
$190.98
Laphroaig Select
(70cl, 40%)
For the Laphroaig Select, the Islay distillery has taken whisky from a number of different types of cask, including Oloroso Sherry butts, white American oak, Pedro Ximenez seasoned hoggies, Quarter...  More info
$58.03
Bw3 is the third instalment of Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky for Speciality Drinks' Elements of Islay range. It doesn't take a scientist to know that this should be some tasty independently...  More info
$114.21
A rich and beautifully dark Bunnahabhain which we presume was aged in a very good sherry cask. This stuff was distilled in 1979 and aged for 23 long years before bottling in October 2002. This superb...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (1.0/5)
$484.07
Lorne Mackillop chooses the expressions that become part of the Mackillop's Choice range, and they're all absolutely top notch drams. Distilled at the Islay distillery in 1990, this Caol Ila has been...  More info
$267.51
This Bruichladdich is part of the John Milroy Selection bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd. John Milroy led the Scotch Single Malt movement in London from the early 60’s with his brother Wallace.  More info
$162.42
Brilliant Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky from 1989! Who do we have to thank for this wonderful single cask release of 244 bottles? Well, it's the talented folks at Mackillop's, of course. We doff...  More info
$322.14
25 year old malt from Islay's most prolific distillery - Caol Ila. Sweet Smooth, and very 'sherbet-lemony'. Only a hint of Smoke, and just superb.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$244.29
Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky, taken from a single cask (which had the rather catchy cask number of #800088) at 7 years old by Berry Bros. & Rudd. It was distilled in 2006 and bottled in...  More info
$89.07
Distilled on 24th April 1990 at the Bowmore distillery on Islay, this whisky spent nearly 23 years in cask 185078 before bottling by Montgomerie's as part of their Rare Select range in March 2013.  More info
$264.45
A Bosun (also known as a Boatswain) is a senior member of a ship's deck department. To use a simile us landlubbers might understand, they're a bit like managers or supervisors in shops - high up for...  More info
$128.72
A Douglas Laing bottling of Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky, drawn from a single cask and bottled in Winter 2014 for their Provenance series. Douglas Laing have described it as "young &...  More info
$82.27
Produced by the ever-reliable Bunnahabhain distillery, this single cask single malt Scotch whisky has been matured for 16 years before it was bottled by Hunter Laing for their also ever-reliable Old...  More info
$139.95
Ardbeg 17 Year Old
(70cl, 40%)
Increasingly rare, now discontinued whisky from Ardbeg. Incredibly rich and powerful, and all too easy to drink.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$751.70
Bowmore Dawn
(70cl, 51.50%)
A wonderful port cask finished whisky from Bowmore, this received an incredibly impressive 94 points in the Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2008.  More info
$288.54
This Bunnahabhain, bottled by Wemyss Malts, is pale and golden in colour, and as the name suggests, it's a malty and full bodied dram. Bottled at 46% abv.  More info
$113.73
This is a fourteen year old Bunnahabhain from Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range.

The Old Malt Cask range began as a release of fifty bottlings in 1998 to commemorate Douglas Laing's fiftieth...  More info
$151.35
A supremely well-aged Bunnahabhain from Berry Brothers & Rudd, distilled in 1989 and bottled in 2013.  More info
$174.96
A 21 year old Ardbeg distilled in 1974 and bottled in 1996 (only full years are counted) by the renowned Italian independent bottlers Sestante at 40% abv. This is a rare and valuable single malt...  More info
$1411.70
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