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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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Smoky and rich, this is a full-bodied, powerful Caol Ila with notes of Latakia. Distilled in 1980 and bottled in 2011 by Berry Brothers and Rudd. Cask 4938.  More info
$193.06
This 19 year old Bruichladdich was distilled on the 3rd April 1992. It was aged in two hogsheads (numbers 1344 and 1352) before bottling by Signatory on the 26th January 2012. A release of 665...  More info
$88.44
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
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Distilled on the 18th December 1997 and aged for 13 years until bottling by Signatory on the 25th October 2011. A cask strength, heavily peated Bunnahabhain and a release of 560 numbered bottles.  More info
$95.65
The eight release in the Links series of casks selected by master distiller Jim McEwan. This 15 year old has a special label featuring a painting of Torrey Pine by the golf artist Graeme W. Baxter...  More info
$67.53
Ardbeg Alligator
(70cl, 51.20%)
Strictly limited to 2 per customer

It's finally here! The hotly anticipated official release of Ardbeg Alligator will simply fly off our shelves! It's aged in a similar style to the standard 10...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$167.86
This Caol Ila was aged in two refill hogsheads (casks 5720 and 5721) for 12 years. Distilled in Autumn 1997 and bottled by Douglas Laing in Winter 2009.  More info
An 11 year old Laphroaig, distilled in 2000 and aged in a single cask before bottling for Douglas Laing's smart-looking Premier Barrel range. A release of just 384 hand-filled decanters.  More info
$122.01
A special release from Bruichladdich for the 2010 Islay Festival, this was distilled in 2004 and aged in a fresh sherry butt (cask number 1667) before bottling as part of an outturn of 1060 50cl...  More info
$106.50
This is a big sherried Bunnahabhain bottled by independent bottler Murray McDavid (of that there Bruichladdich).  More info
$153.17
A comparatively recent release from Bunnahabhain, a less-peated dram from Islay, this single malt has been sherry matured for 18 years and exhibits coastal notes and some medicinal undertones.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Ardbeg 1975
(70cl, 43%)
Michael Jackson (whisky writer, not moonwalker) scored this 1975 Ardbeg with a 9 out of 10. An earthy, peppery, citrussy Ardbeg.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This Bowmore was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd for the Boisdale chain of Scottish bars and restaurants. It is bottled at 46%abv without chill filtration.  More info
$73.04
A cask strength 41 year old Bunnahabhain from Bruichladdich's Master Distiller Jim McEwan who chose this for his prestigious Celtic Heartlands range.  More info
This Bunnahabhain was distilled from peated malt in 1997 and aged for 13 years in a refill sherry cask before it was bottled by Adelphi. This was bottled in aid of the genesis research trust, and...  More info
Cask strength Bowmore, this was distilled in 1991, and aged solely in port pipes. A release of 18,000 bottles.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Bowmore Tempest arrived amidst masses of anticipation. It was a limited release. This is the even more limited, and rather rare, 2010 Feis Ile edition.  More info
$218.10
A marvellous and decidedly rare Port Ellen distilled in April 1982 and aged for a massive 30 years in a single refill hogshead before bottling in April 2012 for Douglas Laing's premium Old and Rare...  More info
$681.70
From Berry's whisky selection comes this single cask Caol Ila distilled in 1983 and aged for 28 years in cask 4825 before bottling in 2011.  More info
$203.75
Douglas Laing have bottled a single cask of the peaty Laphroaig single malt, with chill filtration, for their Old Malt Cask series.  More info
$127.56
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
$85.57
25 year old, single cask Caol Ila! This was distilled on the 16th May 1984 and matured for 25 years in hogshead number 3636. Bottled by Signatory at cask strength on the 23rd July 2009, a release of...  More info
A small batch bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, aged for just a few years in a pair of refill hogsheads. This was bottled in Winter 2012 by Douglas Laing, who declare it to be "young and feisty"!  More info
$82.83
A super rare and nigh on impossible to find bottling from the Ardbeg Committee. This is the prequel to Uigeadail, named the Young Uigeadail, or "Oogling". It is a slightly younger version, made with...  More info
$720.49

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