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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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FEW Spirits
The first NAS release from Bruichladdich's Port Charlotte Brand. A superb balance of peat and smoke. Retains the intensity of other Port Charlotte releases without compromise.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$58.74
Batch three of Laphroaig's new cask strength 10 year old. This is a stunning whisky with oodles (literally oodles) of complexity and flavour.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Vintage Bunnahabhain selected by Jim McEwan (Master Distiller at Bruichladdich). This was distilled in 1978, matured in Oloroso casks for a whopping 30 years, and bottled at the Bruichladdich...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
This is a very tasty single cask, sherry-matured Bunnahabhain from the Vintage Malt Whisky Company's Coopers Choice range. It was distilled in 2001 and was aged in sherry butt number 3196 for 10 years...  More info
$73.61
Ardbeg Mor 10 Year Old
(450cl, 46%)
The moniker 'Mór' is Scotch Gaelic for 'Big', rather apt as this 10 year old from the Ardbeg distillery comes in a 4.5 litre bottle. A limited release.  More info
$480.06
Beautifully packaged, cask strength Bunnahabhain - an Islay distillery known for its fruity nature, and gentle peat. This was distilled in 1997 and matured for 11 years before bottling in 2009 by...  More info
Aged for an incredible 40 years this is a serious whisky from Duncan Taylor. Distilled at the Bunnahabhain distillery in 1968 (the same year LL Cool J was born), this was bottled as part of the...  More info
This was distilled at Caol Ila on the 9th November 2000 and aged for 11 years in two bourbon barrels before bottling for Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection on the 27th April 2912. Each bottle is...  More info
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A vatting from Bruichladdich featuring both Irish and Scotch whisk(e)y, this features both Cooley whiskey and Bruichladdich single malt.  More info
Once upon a time at the Glenmorangie bottling plant, very well-aged Ardbeg was accidentally mixed with some young Glen Moray, oops! The result is this rare bottle with a great story behind it, the...  More info
Bruichladdich X4+3
(70cl, 63.50%)
Bruichladdich's Perilous X4 Spirit is no longer new make, after 3 years maturation it is now officially whisky. This marks the first official quadruple distilled single malt whisky in centuries. It is...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$83.71
A rare half bottle of Caol Ila from Signatory, these are rather hard to come by.  More info
Ever wondered what a deliciously smoky Lagavulin would taste like when coupled with the sweet, silken grace of Pedro Ximenez dessert sherry cask? Well here it is. A superb Distillers Edition, this is...  More info
A rare 30 year old bottling from the Douglas Laing 'Old Malt Cask' range.  More info
One malt to rule them all. An incredible dram, Whisky Mag recommended, Lord of the Isles is an exquisite Ardbeg, matured for 25 years. This is rich, full-bodied, with good sweetness.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
A cask strength, very rare Port Ellen. This was distilled in 1978 and matured for 22 years before bottling as part of the Rare Malts range.  More info
Looks like a regular Ardbeg Uigeadail doesn't it? Well, look closer! It's got a slightly different box...  More info
A very limited and rare release from Ardbeg, specially bottled for the Committee. This was crafted from 12 carefully chosen casks of Ardbeg distilled in 1979 and 1980. Released in 2001.  More info
Sherry Classic Fusion is a bourbon matured Bruichladdich single malt, finished in sherry casks from Fernando de Castilla.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
A punchy cask strength release, it's at 65.8%! This is an unpeated expression from the Caol Ila distillery. They make this stuff but once a year, and is matured in first fill bourbon barrels.  More info
An independent bottling from Bowmore, bottled by Signatory. This was distilled on the 29th March 1990 and matured in 2 hogsheads (casks 653 and 654) for 19 years before bottling on the 16th November...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This was distilled at Bunnahabhain on the 3rd April 1978 and matured in refill butt number 2586 for 31 years before bottling on the 27th April 2009 at cask strength. Part of a release of 598 decanter...  More info
A single cask Laphroaig, bottled by Duncan Taylor for the Rare Auld series at cask strength in February 2010. This was distilled in July 1997 and matured in cask number 56375. Part of a release of 271...  More info
A refill hogshead matured Bowmore. This was distilled in Winter 1998 and aged for 9 years in casks 4109 and 4110 before bottling for Douglas Laing's Provenance range in Winter 2008.  More info
A 20 year old single cask Laphroaig! This was distilled in March 1989 and matured in a sherry hogshead before bottling in December 2009 by Douglas Laing for the Old Malt Cask range. This is part of a...  More info

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