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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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Ardbeg 10 Year Old remains a staple favourite of peat-lovers the world over, and with just one sip it’s easy to see why! Vanilla and citrus fruits underpinned with an Incredible Hulk of peat, this is...  More info
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A stunning Ardbeg, the likes of which have never been seen before. This was distilled in March 1991, and bottled in October 2008. There are just 316 bottles, at the strength of 50% (for added...  More info
A super limited release of independently bottled Ardbeg! There are just 306 bottles of this stuff, bottled at natural cask strength in 2011 at the Bruichladdich distillery after 17 years in a single...  More info
Distilled at Ardbeg in March 1991 and matured for 18 years before bottling in August 2009. A release of 208 bottles, bottled by Douglas Laing.  More info
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An 18 year old single cask Ardbeg, this was matured in a refill hogshead, distilled in March 1991 and bottled in September 2009 by Douglas Laing with an outturn of 316 bottles.  More info
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Distilled in 1974 and bottled in November 1997, just after the Ardbeg distillery was bought by Glenmorangie, the Ardbeg Provenance is a legendary bottling of 23 year old single malt Scotch whisky...  More info
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This was distilled at the Ardbeg distillery in 1974 and it was bottled especially for Speymalt Whisky's Spirit of Scotland range. A very rare and collectible bottling from the legendary Islay...  More info
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Ardbeg 1975
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A very rare Ardbeg bottled by Gordon and MacPhail in 2003. This was distilled in 1975 - a legendary vintage for Ardbeg.  More info
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Ardbeg 1977
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Rare and delicious Ardbeg! Jim Murray awarded this 96 points and described it as "simply one of the greatest experiences". This was distilled in 1977 and bottled in 2001, part of a release of 2,400...  More info
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A rather rare release from Ardbeg, this 1978 vintage represents single malt from the prodigious Ileach distillery at its most balanced and poised. Superb.  More info
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A Gordon and MacPhail bottling from Ardbeg, this was distilled in 1990 and bottled in 2001.  More info
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A beautiful 14 year old, single cask Ardbeg bottled especially for the 2010 Feis Ile (Islay Festival). This was distilled on the 7th December 1995, it was then aged in cask 2761 (a second fill bourbon...  More info
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An astonishing 11 year old single cask from Ardbeg - stunning in flavour and very, very rare. This was distilled in 1998 and aged in cask 1275 (a first fill bourbon barrel) before bottling in 2009 - a...  More info
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Good gosh, would you look at this! A 21 year old Ardbeg, bottled by Douglas Laing! What an amazing addition to the Old Particular range. The whisky was produced at the Islay distillery in October 1992...  More info
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