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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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24 year old single malt from Islay's Bunnahabhain distillery, bottled by A. D. Rattray in Kirkoswald. This delicious dram was distilled in October 1989, matured in a bourbon hogshead and bottled in...  More info
$145.73
Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead, distilled in 1989 and independently bottled by Adelphi in 2014 at 24 years old. 242 of these simple, classy bottles were...  More info
$222.65
Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old
(70cl, 46.30%)
In what will be seen as a positive move to whisky connoisseurs, Bunnahabhain have decided to bottle the 25 year old without chill-filtration and without colouring. Presented in smoked oak glass bottle...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$320.27
Douglas Laing's Directors' Cut range is reserved for some very special, well aged whiskies, and this 25 year old Bunnahabhain fits into those categories rather splendidly! The single hogshead was...  More info
$393.32
Goodness gracious, look at this 34 year old Bunnahabhain! Obviously it spent all those years in Sherry oak, so expect a flavour profile brimming with Sherried goodness. The Islay distillery put the...  More info
$654.69
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
$2309.63
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
$89.05
Bunnahabhain Toiteach
(70cl, 46%)
Toiteach is Gaelic for "Smoky", a hint of what's to come. That's right, a heavily peated Bunnahabhain! A great chance to try a smoky malt from a distiller of gentle, fruity Islay whisky.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$100.80
A 6 year old single cask Bunnahabhain distilled in 2006 and bottled in early 2013 by Berry Brothers & Rudd. It will come as no surprise that no artificial colouring was added to this one.  More info
$93.09
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
$114.19
Caol Ila 12 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
This 12 year old is the entry level bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, launched in June of 2002 this expression is light and fresh with that distinctive Caol Ila smoke.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$59.87
Caol Ila 18 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A wonderfully balanced expression from the core Caol Ila range, this 18 year old is malty and thick with notes of Caol Ila smoke and phenols, a lovely Islay single malt without extreme levels of peat...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$116.39
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
$86.37
Part of Diageo's Distillers Edition range comes a 2001 vintage single malt Scotch whisky from Caol Ila, which has been matured in American oak and finished in Moscatel wine casks. A limited edition...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$89.05
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
$237.00
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
$267.45
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)
$244.49
A wonderful single cask release of Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, distilled in 1982, from the Mackillop's Choice range. 292 bottles of this delicious Islay whisky were produced from cask 6507 at...  More info
$329.12
30 year old Caol Ila single malt, bottled for the Duncan Taylor Single collection. This Sherried Islay dram has matured from May 1983 to February 2014, when it was bottled with an outturn of just 66...  More info
$668.47
35 year old Caol Ila single malt, good gosh! Taken from hogshead cask #10291, which lovingly matured the whisky for 35 years, from February 1979 to March 2014. After this, it was bottled by Douglas...  More info
$605.32
Single cask 5 year old Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, distilled on Islay in 2008 and bottled without colouring or chill-filtering for the Hepburn's Choice range in 2014 with an outturn of 414...  More info
$73.63
Caol Ila Moch
(70cl, 43%)
Moch is Gaelic for dawn, and this release from Caol Ila is an altogether lighter prospect than the distillery's excellent 12 year old standard expression.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$72.61
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Named after distillery manager Billy Stitchell who retires this year, this bottling honours his 39 years at Caol Ila, following in the footsteps of four previous generations...  More info
$117.62
Islay Storm
(70cl, 40%)
An Islay single malt from a secret distillery, Islay Storm has loads of peaty character.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$42.38
The fourth release of Kilchoman's excellent, lightly-peated release, 100% Islay. They used barley grown on the island and completed every step of production at the distillery - a big undertaking, but...  More info
$108.19
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