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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 is the second edition of the Kilchoman 100% Islay. The whisky is a 50:50 vatting of three and four year old whisky matured in ex-Bourbon casks. The whisky is entirely produced on the island of...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This is twenty-two year old Bowmore was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd from a single cask.  More info
$148.61
This is a fourteen year old Caol Ila bottled without chill-filtration by Signatory to maintain flavour and texture.  More info
$65.98
A marvellous and decidedly rare Port Ellen distilled in 1982 and aged for a massive 30 years in a single refill hogshead before bottling in 2012 for Douglas Laing's premium Old and Rare Platinum...  More info
$653.05
Ardbeg changed hands between 1996 and 1997, since then the distillery has only released a Ten Year Old with an age statement. So it is pretty darn exciting *massively massively exciting* to get to try...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
This is a previous Gordon & MacPhail bottling of Port Ellen. The Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983 and today only the maltings remain in use. This Port Ellen was bottled in 2001 and offers a rare...  More info
$482.59
This twelve year old Bowmore distilled in 1989 was bottled by Lombard for their Jewels of Scotland range. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on the island of Islay and is a peated style of single malt...  More info
$103.18
This is a Caol Ila distilled in 1990 and bottled by independent bottler Mackillops in 2012. The philosophy behind Mackillops is to take the appreciation of wine to whisky, so the whiskies selected...  More info
This is a stunning twenty year old Bunnahabhain from London-based retailers Berry Brothers and Rudd.  More info
$122.58
This is a 14 year old Caol Ila which has been made from un-peated malted barley - unusual for these Islay Distillers. The whisky has been matured in ex-Sherry casks for a fruity character which still...  More info
$104.32
The original Lagavulin 21 Year Old has achieved legendary status in the whisky world so I was frothing at the bit to try this 52%abv Lagavulin bottled from first-fill ex-sherry casks. This is a...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
It’s a Port Ellen, it’s rare and everyone wants some but well… it’s easy to see why. Bottled from a mixture of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks at 52.5%abv and with an impressive thirty-two years of...  More info
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$2373.03
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
$465.37
This 16 year old was matured in ex-bourbon casks. The rather ominous 'Airigh Nam Beist' derives from the Scotch Gaelic for 'Shelter of the Beast'. Ardbeg describe this as "Ardbeg Icecream" - we...  More info
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From a recently released Ardbeg range showcasing the affects of maturation on 1998-distilled whisky. Starting from Very Young through Still Young and Almost There, Renaissance is the conclusion with...  More info
This is the first Bowmore bottled by Speciality Drinks for their Elements of Islay range. The range is modelled on the periodic table with each Islay distillery being reduced to a couple of letters...  More info
$87.52
This Bunnahabhain is the fourth release from this distillery from independent bottler Speciality drinks.  More info
$63.63
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
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$92.78
This is a sherry-matured Caol Ila from Gordon and MacPhail's Connoisseurs Choice range. It was distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2010.  More info
$65.34
This is the first batch of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Bowmore. This offering is a peaty style with a sherried streak running right through the middle of it.

‘That Boutique-y Whisky Company’...  More info
This is a 20 year old Caol Ila bottled for the Cooper's Choice series of Scotch whisky.  More info
$92.95
This is a nine year old whisky from the Islay distillery of Bunnahabhain. This single malt has been aged in ex-Sherry casks for a deeper and richer flavour.  More info
$71.35
This fifteen year old Caol Ila has been bottled by Signatory without chill filtration and is a deliciously peaty Islay single malt!  More info
$65.98
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
This is a sherry cask Bunnahabhain bottled at a staggering thirty-seven years of age by Douglas Laing for their fantastic Old & Rare Collection. Bunnahabhains from the 1970s tend to be particularly...  More info
$425.28

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