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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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Matured in two first fill Sherry butts, this 2000 vintage Caol Ila was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in June 2012 as part of their Cask Strength range.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$92.78
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
$75.54
A single-cask bottling of Islay's Bowmore bottled with the approval of Whisky Legend John Milroy.  More info
$127.46
This whisky is from the long-since closed distillery of Port Ellen and despite a whole bunch of distilleries sadly closing in the early 1980s Port Ellen remains one of the most highly regarded...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Bunnahabhain Darach Ur 1l
(100cl, 46.30%)
A one little bottle of Bunnahabhain which was launched for travel retail. The name "Darach Ur" is Gaelic for "New Oak", a reference to the fact that this whisky has been aged entirely in new American...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$83.58
Distilled at Laphroaig 2nd of May 1996 and aged in hogshead number 1983 for 13 years before bottling on the 8th June 2009. A release of 280 bottles, bottled by Speciality Drinks.  More info
$78.76
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)
$56.94
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
$71.35
This Bunnahabhain is the fourth release from this distillery from independent bottler Speciality drinks.  More info
$63.63
This was distilled at Laphroaig in 1995, it was aged for 16 years in a single bourbon barrel, and it was bottled by Signatory in 2011. A release of 140 bottles.  More info
Hunter Laing, the company that Stewart Laing created when the assets of Douglas Laing were split between himself and his brother, retained the excellent Old Malt Cask label. This Caol Ila, is 18 years...  More info
$137.05
Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin
(70cl, 51.20%)
Cairdeas means frienship in Gaelic, a fitting moniker for a bottling relased to celebrate the distillery's popular friends programme. It's really rather good.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$209.08
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
STRICTLY ONE PER CUSTOMER

Bunnahabhain's Fèis Ìle festival release is a delightfully sherried whisky bottled at 60.1% abv on 19th March 2013. Only 606 bottles were released, each hand signed by...  More info
$241.25
This Bowmore was aged in a sherry cask for 9 years. It was taken for additional maturation at the Bruichladdich warehouses, before bottling in 2009. A release of 1,600 bottles from Murray McDavid.  More info
$62.67
Bowmore Enigma is a 12-year-old expression with a higher proportion of sherry matured whisky than the standard bottling.
Bottled for the travel retail market, this is rich and very drinkable.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$80.36
A single cask Bunnahabhain, bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd. This was distilled in 1990 and aged in cask 18 for 21 years before bottling un-chillfiltered at natural cask strength in 2012.  More info
$143.42
One of 306 bottles yielded at 54.7% ABV. The younger bowmores from Adelphi are a stark contrast to the distillery's own younger releases, and stand up well to the (very impressive) Tempest releases.  More info
This Caol Ila boasts an incredible twenty-nine years of cask ageing and is a stupendous Islay whisky being both smoky and graceful in equal quantities.

This whisky was bottled by Duncan Taylor for...  More info
$303.61
Signatory have brought us a fifteen year old Laphroaig, the Marmite of the Islay whiskies! This pungent beast takes no prisoners and unleashes its medicinal peat with daring precision.  More info
$111.51
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
Distilled in 2001, this is a 9 year old Caol Ila, bottled at natural cask strength by Adelphi.  More info
Bruichladdich's XX Nostalgia is the distillery's 2012 Feis Ile bottling, and very nice it is too. As you might expect from Bruichladdich it has an unusual twist, and has been finished in Gaga Barolo...  More info
$241.25

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