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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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This Bowmore was distilled in October of 1982 and was aged for 29 years in cask 85212 before bottling by Duncan Taylor in October 2011. A cask strength release of 218 numbered bottles.  More info
This was distilled at the Bowmore distilled on the 22nd November 1985 before a 25 year maturation in hogshead 32207. It was bottled by Signatory for their Cask Strength Collection on the 25th October...  More info
$155.70
This cask strength, single cask Bunnahabhain was distilled on the 21st September 2001 and it was aged in sherry butt 1763 for 9 years before bottling on the 11th July 2011. A release of 575 bottles.  More info
This was distilled at Caol Ila on the 8th November 1983 and it was aged in hogshead number 5284 before it was bottled by Signatory on the 12th July 2011. This is a cask strength release of 254...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.5/5)
$173.00
This Laphroaig was distilled on the 4th April 1995 and it was aged for 16 years in bourbon barrel 43 before it was bottled by Signatory on the 25th October 2011. A release of 221 decanter bottles.  More info
$121.08
This Laphroaig was distilled on the 1st July 1999 and it was aged for 12 years in hogsheads 700042 and 700043 before bottling on the 6th October 2011. A release from Signatory of 744 bottles.  More info
$66.01
A tasty old Bunnahabhain which was distilled in June of 1985 and was aged in casks (two barrels) 5 and 7. It was bottled in 2010 for the Dun Bheagan range. A release of 372 bottles.  More info
$163.56
A 13 year old Bunnahabhain from Ian MacLeod's Dun Bheagan. Unusually for Bunnahabhain, this was distilled from peated malt. It was then filled into three hogsheads (5459, 5461 and 5462) and was...  More info
$80.17
A beautiful Caol Ila from Gordon and MacPhail. This was distilled in 1997 and it was aged for a decade in bourbon casks before a 30 month finish in Hermitage wine casks (a classic French red made...  More info
$73.87
This Bruichladdich was distilled on the 27th May 1998, and it was aged for 12 years. It was finished in a Calvados cask from Christian Drouin, and it was bottled by none other than us at the...  More info
$155.70
A special version of Laphroaig Cairdeas (pronounced "carchase"), the Ileach edition is named in reference to John Campbell, the whisky's creator. John is the first ever Islay-born Master Distiller at...  More info
$173.00
This was made using something called "Cask Evolution Exploration". One suspects that means "finishing it in something exotic-sounding." This was aged in bourbon casks, before a finish in Tempranillo...  More info
$93.70
This was distilled at Bowmore on the 14th June 1999, and it was aged in Limousin oak in warehouse 5 for 8 years before bottling for the 2008 Feis Ile. A release of 800 numbered bottles, fabulous...  More info
$128.95
Ardbeg Feis Ile 2011
(70cl, 55.10%)
Ardbeg's absolutely amazing Feis Ile bottling, bottled in 2011. This very rare Ardbeg was distilled in 1998 and aged in two Pedro Ximenez butts (making this the closest thing you'll ever get to a...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$786.66
A beautiful Caol Ila, filled into cask on the 18th December 1996, and aged for 12 years in European oak sherry cask 19313 before being hand selected by Billy Stitchell for the 2009 Feis Ile.  More info
$306.75
Bottled especially for the 2011 Feis Ile, this potent, rich Kilchoman comes at natural cask strength, and it offers up a lot of flavour. Lots of peat going on here...  More info
$353.95
Caol Ila Distillery Only
(70cl, 58.40%)
The very rare and very special distillery only bottling from Caol Ila. To get this stuff usually, you have to go all the way to Islay! This was launched at the 2007 Feis Ile, and it has a lovely...  More info
$157.27
Made especially for the 2011 Feis Ile, this Bowmore was aged for 15 years and finished in a sherry cask before bottling at natural cask strength. A release of just 500 bottles. Very rare!  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$267.41
Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal was released in celebration of Feis Ile 2009. This rare, one-off whisky was distilled on the 22nd April 1993, and it was aged in sherry wood. A release of 1,000 bottles.  More info
$314.62
This very special Bowmore was distilled on the 14th June 1999 and it was aged in sherry, bourbon and wine casks in warehouse 6 before bottling in 2009 for that year's Feis Ile. A release of 900...  More info
$196.61
An amazing a very rare Lagavulin, distilled on the 23rd February 1998 and aged in cask 1715 for 12 years before bottling for the 2011 Feis Ile. A limited release, aged in warehouse 1 in a single...  More info
$465.77
The first ever Ardbeg Supernova, and Ardbeg's initial go at producing super peaty whisky! This was created specially for the Ardbeg Committee, and when we first tasted it we couldn't believe how...  More info
$471.97
Peated to 167 PPM, Octomore 4.1 is an intense, unusual whisky from Bruichladdich which Jim Murray awarded a very impressive 92 points, commenting on its chocolate-rich flavour he described it as...  More info
SMWS' first bottling from the Port Charlotte distillery! This is a super rare little whisky, which was distilled in December 2001 and aged in a single refill barrel for 8 years before bottling. It's...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$235.94
This was distilled at Bowmore on the 12th March 1984 and it was aged in cask M427 for 25 years before bottling in July 2009 by Montgomerie's.  More info

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