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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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Bruichladdich Octomore
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Spirit of Hven Distillery
The 2008 released 27 year old from Islay giant Laphroaig. This was distilled in 1981 from five casks, previously used for Oloroso sherry, a thick and full single malt with a deep hue.  More info
Laphroaig Cairdeas
(70cl, 55%)
Cairdeas derives from the Gaelic for 'Friendship', this is a rare cask strength edition from the Laphroaig distillery.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
A potent, cask strength release from Laphroaig. A very pungent version of the 10 year old.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Laphroaig 15 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A now discontinued bottling, this was replaced this year by the 18 year old. The old 15 is becoming rather rare, definitely an investment dram.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Laphroaig 25 Year Old
(70cl, 45.10%)
The 25 year old Laphroaig, released in 2007. This is a surprisingly mellow dram from the distillery.  More info
Laphroaig 30 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A recent 30 year old release, this is very well-aged by Laphroaig standards. This is rich and powerful, age has brought balance. This won Gold medals at the International Spirits Challenge and the...  More info
This bottling was named for a yellow mini-submarine that was discovered just miles from the distillery, the vessel was clearing mines left from World War Two when a local fisherman discovered it. A...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Matured largely in American oak, with a little Spanish oak. An increasingly rare first edition, the 15 year old is a great, fresh, lightly-peated offering from Bruichladdich.  More info
Our 26 year old Bowmore has oodles of character. It's full of flavours from old-fashioned tuck shops; from Drumstick lollies, to Fruit Salad Chews – and including the one particular flavour that truly...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
A limited edition of just 6,000 bottles worldwide, this was the first 19 year old Bruichladdich, matured in bourbon and a medley of wine casks. It follows on from the Blacker Still expression and was...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Port Charlotte PC8
(70cl, 60.50%)
This is the last of the 2001 vintage of ‘age-numbered’ Port Charlotte expressions. This comes with the nickname “Ar duthcas”- Gaelic for “Land of our heritage”. This is very well-peated to 40ppm...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$106.74
This is the first ever rum finished 'Laddie, this was matured for 15 years in bourbon before an additional 2 years in rum casks used to mature their Renegade rums. The rum came from the Uitvlugt and...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$90.30
Ardbeg Still Young
(70cl, 56.20%)
Part of a range from Ardbeg exhibiting the affects of age on their wonderful single malt whisky. Still Young represents the second stage, aged for 8 years.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Maximum one bottle per customer.

A new single malt from a new Islay distillery! This is the Autumn 2009 release, fresh onto the market. Matured for 3 years in first fill and refill Buffalo Trace...  More info
Ardbeg 1978
(70cl, 43%)
A rather rare release from Ardbeg, this 1978 vintage represents single malt from the prodigious Ileach distillery at its most balanced and poised. Superb.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
Ardbeg Corryvreckan, this is a the Committee Reserve bottling, released in 2008 to great critical acclaim.  More info
The most heavily peated Ardbeg ever released. In our humble opinion, this is the best of the heavily peated whiskies available today. Top tip - this whisky makes a lot more sense if you 'build up' to...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
Increasingly a collector's item, this is the world's most heavily peated whisky at 140 ppm.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Rarer than hen's teeth this one. Special pre-release bottling of Bruichladdich's Octomore - the most heavily peated whisky in the world.  More info
The first Organic whisky release from Bruichladdich. This is 100% organic certified by the Biodynamic Association. The motto 'Anns an t-sean doigh' is Gaelic for 'In the traditional Way'. Organic 2003...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Bruichladdich X4+3
(70cl, 63.50%)
Bruichladdich's Perilous X4 Spirit is no longer new make, after 3 years maturation it is now officially whisky. This marks the first official quadruple distilled single malt whisky in centuries. It is...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$83.72
Very rare bottle of Caol Ila, bottled at the Bladnoch distillery after sixteen years of maturation.  More info
A rare half bottle of Caol Ila from Signatory, these are rather hard to come by.  More info
The hotly anticipated 2009 release of the cask-strength Lagavulin 12 year-old. Undoubtedly one of the best cask-strength whiskies.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$331.89
Ever wondered what a deliciously smoky Lagavulin would taste like when coupled with the sweet, silken grace of Pedro Ximenez dessert sherry cask? Well here it is. A superb Distillers Edition, this is...  More info

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