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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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25 year old Bowmore, this was distilled on the 22nd November 1985, and aged in a single bourbon barrel (number 32212) before bottling on the 24th November 2010. A release of 279 numbered bottles at...  More info
Distilled at Caol Ila in 1983 and bottled in 2011 at cask strength by Berry Brothers and Rudd.  More info
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Bottled for the Boisdale Bar and Restaurant, this was distilled at Laphroaig in 1998, and aged in hogshead number 700218 before bottling in 2011. Selected by Doug McIvor.  More info
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An unpeated variant of Caol Ila, this is aged for 8 years, and bottled at a staggering 64.9% abv!  More info
An intense 31 year old single cask Bunnahabhain. This was distilled in 1979 and it was bottled at natural cask strength by Adelphi.  More info
Distilled in 2001, this is a 9 year old Caol Ila, bottled at natural cask strength by Adelphi.  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)
The penultimate part in the Young series from Ardbeg, spanning the development of Ardbeg, from Very Young, all the way up to 10 years. This was distilled in 1998, and offers lots of complexity and a...  More info
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Bunnahabhain Mòine
(70cl, 59.60%)
Mòine is a special release from the Bunnahabhain distillery. This is a peated expression selected by master distillery Ian MacMillan for Feis Ile 2009. This was distilled in 2003. The name is Gaelic...  More info
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A punchy cask strength release, it's at 65.8%! This is an unpeated expression from the Caol Ila distillery. They make this stuff but once a year, and is matured in first fill bourbon barrels.  More info
A very rare, hotly anticipated Port Ellen. This is from the slew of Diageo 2009 Special Releases, this is the 9th release, distilled in 1979 and bottled at cask strength (part of an outturn of 5,916...  More info
A Signatory bottling of Bowmore. This was distilled on the 13th November 1980 and matured in bourbon barrel number 8055 for 28 years before bottling on the 16th September 2009. Part of a release of...  More info
An independent bottling from Bowmore, bottled by Signatory. This was distilled on the 29th March 1990 and matured in 2 hogsheads (casks 653 and 654) for 19 years before bottling on the 16th November...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Matured in hogsheads 83 and 84 for 19 years. This is a Signatory bottling from the Bruichladdich distillery, distilled on the 2nd November 1989 and bottling on the 26th August 2009. A release of 679...  More info
This was distilled at Bunnahabhain on the 3rd April 1978 and matured in refill butt number 2586 for 31 years before bottling on the 27th April 2009 at cask strength. Part of a release of 598 decanter...  More info
A 12 year old peated Bunnahabhain. This was distilled in 1997 and aged in a few casks before vatting together and bottling as part of Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered range of natural colour, 46% abv...  More info
A 32 year old Caol Ila, bottled by Signatory. This well aged malt was distilled on the 27th December 1974 and matured in a single cask (hogshead number 12624) before bottling on the 28th June 2007...  More info
A Signatory bottling from Caol Ila. This was distilled on the 22nd November 1999 and matured in two hogsheads (umbers 3/1063 and 1064) for 10 years before bottling on the 26th November 2009. A release...  More info
Distilled at Caol Ila - an Islay distillery known for its oily, smoky character - on the 22nd November 1999, matured in two casks (hogsheads numbers 3/11067 11068) and bottled by Signatory on the 17th...  More info
Port Charlotte PC5
(70cl, 63.50%)
This was distilled by Bruichladdich in 2001 and aged for 5 years. Now incredibly rare, PC5 was the first in the incredible Port Charlotte range, some of the most heavily peated whisky from...  More info
Distilled at Bowmore in 1994 and matured in refill sherry casks for 14 years before bottling by Murray McDavid at the Bruichladdich distillery in 2009. An outturn of 486 bottles.  More info
7 year old Bowmore, bottled for Murray McDavid. This was distilled at the Bowmore distillery in 2002, aged in bourbon barrels and then finished in casks from First Growth Bordeaux winery Château...  More info
Selected by Jim McEwan, this was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1997, and aged in bourbon casks before a finish in Premier Cru Sauternes casks from Château d'Yquem. Bottled at the Bruichladdich...  More info
A release of 755 bottles, distilled at Bunnahabhain, matured in bourbon barrels and taken to Bruichladdich for bottling in 2009. A cask strength 19 year old bottled by Murray McDavid.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.5/5)
$112.60
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)

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