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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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A Pedro Ximinez (sic) finished Bruichladdich. This is part of a release of 6,000 bottles of 17 years old whisky.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
Sherry Classic Fusion is a bourbon matured Bruichladdich single malt, finished in sherry casks from Fernando de Castilla.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
A single cask Caol Ila, distilled on the 13th November 1984 and matured in hogshead 5381 before bottling by the Bladnoch forum on the 10th July 2009. A release of just 290 bottles.  More info
Single cask Caol Ila, bottled for the Bladnoch Forum. This release of just 170 bottles was matured in hogshead no. 8154 for 28 years!  More info
Tempest is a very special release from Bowmore, it’s a cask strength malt made by vatting first-fill bourbon matured whisky. Very rich and complex.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$74.43
24 year old single malt Scotch whisky from the legendary Port Ellen distillery, which sadly has been closed since 1983. This Islay whisky was distilled in March 1978, matured in a single Sherry butt...  More info
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It's not every day you see unpeated Caol Ila, but it's part of Diageo's Special Releases for a reason - it's a bit special, it is. Released for the 2014 collection of Special Releases, this edition...  More info
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Sure to be a favourite of the 2014 Special Releases this is a 30 year old Caol Ila single malt, distilled in 1983 and matured in a mix of American and European oak casks. 7,638 bottles were produced.  More info
A frequent favourite of Diageo's Special Releases, this is the 2014 edition 12 year old Lagavulin single malt Scotch whisky. Featuring malts that were distilled in 2001 and 2002, matured in refill...  More info
Part of the 2014 Diageo Special Releases, this 35 year old Port Ellen single malt Scotch whisky was matured in a combination of refill American oak and European oak casks. A regular of the Special...  More info
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
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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
And old (and by proxy, rare) bottle of Bunnahabhain 12. This was bottled back in those heady times when whisky came in 75cl bottles.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
A single cask Laphroaig, bottled by Duncan Taylor for the Rare Auld series at cask strength in February 2010. This was distilled in July 1997 and matured in cask number 56375. Part of a release of 271...  More info
This was distilled at Laphroaig in 1997 and matured for 12 years before bottling by Duncan Taylor in 2010. This was bottled for the NC2 range, the name refers to the fact that this not chill filtered...  More info

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