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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 Whisky

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One of the best Unpeated Caol Ila's so far (as of 2011), this is a stunning whisky, distilled in 1999 and aged in first fill ex bourbon American oak casks. Really very good indeed! A release of 6,000...  More info
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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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A 1 litre bottle of Laphroaig's marvelous Triple Wood, this was bottled for the duty free market. Triple Wood starts off in a similar manner to Quarter Cask, in that it's matured in bourbon barrels...  More info
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This was distilled at Bowmore in 2001, and initially aged in bourbon casks. It was then taken a few miles down the road to the Bruichladdich distillery, where it was finished in Port Pipes before...  More info
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This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1997 and aged in bourbon barrels before it was taken to the Bruichladdich distillery, where it was finished in Port Pipes. It was bottled after 13 years in 2010...  More info
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A stunning whisky from Murray McDavid, incredibly rare, and impressively packaged. This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1978 and aged for 32 years in sherry wood. Bottled as a release of 810 numbered...  More info
This was distilled at Laphroaig in 1997, and it was initially matured in bourbon barrels. Murray McDavid then selected it, and took it to Bruichladdich, where it was reracked into incredible Chateau...  More info
Distilled in 1994, this Bowmore was initially aged in sherry wood. It was selected by Murray McDavid, and taken to the Bruichladdich distillery, where it was reracked into none other than the finest...  More info
Ardbeg Very Young
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The first part in the Young series from Ardbeg, tracking the development of Ardbeg whisky, aged for just a few years, all the way up to the standard Ardbeg at 10 years old. Very interesting indeed...  More info
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Kilchoman Feis Ile 2010
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This was distilled in 2007, and bottled especially for the Islay festival in 2010. A wonderful release of Kilchoman, aged for three years in fresh bourbon barrels. Bottled at Natural cask strength.  More info
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The very first ever release of single malt whisky from the Kilchoman distillery. This Inaugural Release was aged for between 2.5 and 3 years in bourbon casks, before being finished for 6 months in...  More info
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Bowmore Dawn
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A wonderful port cask finished whisky from Bowmore, this received an incredibly impressive 94 points in the Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2008.  More info
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A very interesting and incredibly rare Bowmore, finished in Bordeaux red wine casks. Rich and very fruity. Bowmore Dusk is a collector's favourite.  More info
The first ever 100% Islay release from Kilchoman, this is the incredibly rare natural cask strength edition. It was bottled from casks 100 thru' 103/08, and there are 1,060 numbered bottles, each...  More info
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A 13 year old Caol Ila, distilled in October 1996 and aged in casks 91971 and 91974, this was given a finish in Sauternes dessert wine casks before bottling in March 2010. One of just a handful of...  More info
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An incredibly limited release from Bruichladdich, this edition of the ferociously peaty Port Charlotte was aged for 9 years in American oak, and there are just 6,000 bottles (which are likely to sell...  More info
This cask strength, single cask Bowmore was distilled on the 22nd November 1985, and it was aged in hogshead 32211 for 25 years before bottling by Signatory on the 16th June 2011. A release of 257...  More info
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A fabulously rich, darkly hued sherry cask Bunnahabhain, distilled in 1979 and aged in cask 1795 before bottling by Berry Brothers and Rudd in 2011.  More info
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Distilled at Bunnahabhain in November of 1986 and aged in cask 1575 before bottling by Duncan Taylor in September 2011. A 24 year old, single cask, cask strength whisky, and a release of 174 bottles.  More info
This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in September 1988, it was aged for 22 years in cask 2356 before bottling by Duncan Taylor's Rare Auld series in August of 2011. A cask strength release of 237...  More info
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A stunning single cask, deeply sherried Islay whisky from Bunnahabhain. This was distilled in 2000, aged in cask 948 and was bottled at 10 years old in 2011 by Adelphi. A release of 636 bottles.  More info
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