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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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Laphroaig 25 Year Old
(70cl, 45.10%)
The 25 year old Laphroaig, released in 2007. This is a surprisingly mellow dram from the distillery.  More info
Laphroaig 15 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A now discontinued bottling, this was replaced this year by the 18 year old. The old 15 is becoming rather rare, definitely an investment dram.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
A potent, cask strength release from Laphroaig. A very pungent version of the 10 year old.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Laphroaig Cairdeas
(70cl, 55%)
Cairdeas derives from the Gaelic for 'Friendship', this is a rare cask strength edition from the Laphroaig distillery.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
The 2008 released 27 year old from Islay giant Laphroaig. This was distilled in 1981 from five casks, previously used for Oloroso sherry, a thick and full single malt with a deep hue.  More info
Part of a release of just 972 bottles from Laphroaig. This 27 year old was distilled in 1980 and aged in 5 casks used previously to hold Oloroso sherry.  More info
Third of a very limited series of special releases from the essential Islay distillery. Delightfully subtle differences compared to previous 12 year old releases. This is the 2008 edition, a cask...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
When Lagavulin decided to produce a 'finished' whisky - The Distillers Edition, there were doubters who thought nothing could be a match for the pungent strength of Lagavulin. Those sceptics were...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
Lagavulin 21 Year Old
(70cl, 56.50%)
A cask strength 21 year old release from Lagavulin, just 6,642 bottles were released, distilled in 1985 and bottled in 2007.  More info
Distilled at the Caol Ila distillery in 1996, Gordon and MacPhail matured this in their Elgin-based warehouses in refill sherry casks. The result is a rich, coastal dram, with fruity freshness and...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$101.79
A markedly rich bottling from Gordon and MacPhail, this Bunnahabhain single malt was distilled in 1991 and offers some lovely feinty notes with hints of coffee and honey.  More info
Bruichladdich 1991
(70cl, 55.90%)
Distilled in 1991, this cask strength single malt was bottled in May of 2008, having been matured in refill sherry hogsheads, a rare independent bottling from Gordon and MacPhail.  More info
$119.04
A limited edition sherry finished single malt from Caol Ila, just 280 bottles were released, distilled in 1984 and bottled in October of 2008 by Gordon and MacPhail, a beautifully balanced whisky from...  More info
An 11 year old Caol Ila expression from Gordon and MacPhail's Private Collection, this bottling was matured in Marsala casks and is part of an limited release of just 1,200 bottles.  More info
This 1996 vintage bottling from Gordon and MacPhail's Connoisseur's Choice is a veritable exhibition of Caol Ila's character, there is a fruity freshness underpinning phenols and a strong coastal...  More info
A punchy and smoky Laphroaig from Signatory at full cask strength. 295 bottles of this single cask whisky were produced.  More info
$160.96
Distilled at Port Ellen distillery on Islay in 1982, this Old Bothwell single cask release comes from one of the most sought after distilleries of all time.

When Diageo sought to shut down one of...  More info
$705.14
Ardbeg Uigeadail is a 'dark and mysterious' expression from the popular Islay distillery, a rich and smoky single malt with incredible balance and depth of flavour. This one has a slightly damaged...  More info
$102.60
An old bottling of Lagavulin's classic 16 year old single malt scotch whisky form Islay. Rich, peaty and awesome!  More info
$67.80
An older bottling of Bunnahabhain's 12 year old single malt Islay whisky. It has the old packaging and tube as well as the lower abv of 40%.  More info
$67.80
The first release of Kilchoman's Loch Gorm single malt Scotch whisky, distilled at the Islay farm distillery and fully matured in ex-sherry casks for 5 years before being bottled. Rather...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$96.57
Distilled in 1982 and aged for 22 years in refill sherry butts before bottling in 2004 by Gordon and MacPhail. Port Ellen has become a legendary distillery.  More info
Distilled at Coal Ila distillery in 1995 and finished in Madeira casks, this Islay single malt was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for their Private Collection range.  More info
$118.66
A 16 year old Caol Ila distilled in September 1996 and matured in cask 9512. This Islay whisky was bottled in February 2013 by Douglas Laing as part of their Old Malt Cask Range.  More info
$114.90

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