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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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An incredibly rare Bowmore, bottled by the Whisky Connoisseurs. Largiemeanoch is very, very hard to come by. Distilled on the 17th February 1972, and aged in cask 906. This was bottled at "100.2...  More info
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This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1968 and aged for 41 years in European oak butts 12401 and 12403 before bottling by Adelphi in 2008. The result is thick, viscous and very dark whisky...  More info
Distilled at Caol Ila in 1984 and aged for 23 years in cask number 6262 before bottling by Adelphi in 2008 as part of a release of 232 cask strength bottles.  More info
This 19 year old, single cask Laphroaig was distilled on the 22nd October 1990 and aged in bourbon barrel number 89 before bottling on the 21st June 2010. A release of 246 decanters.  More info
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Batch 2 of the excellent cask strength Laphroaig 10. This was bottled in January 2010 and it's incredible; full of classic Laphroaig flavour, cranked up to 11…  More info
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A 9 year old Laphroaig from the Douglas Laing Provenance range. This was distilled in Winter 2001, aged in refill hogshead number 6421 and bottled in Summer 2010.  More info
Sure to sell out quickly, Kilchoman's Summer 2010 Release marks another excellent addition to the new Islay distillery's already sterling back catalogue. This is release number 4, aged in fresh...  More info
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This was distilled from heavily peated malt (unusual for a Bunnahabhain) on the 8th December 1997 and was aged for 12 years in hogsheads 5342 and 5484 before bottling on the 23rd June 2010 as part of...  More info
A cask strength Bunnahabhain from Murray McDavid. This was distilled in 1978 and aged for 30 years in a mix of port and sherry casks before bottling as part of a release of 573 bottles.  More info
An elegant, fresh, berry fruit-rich Bunnahabhain. This was distilled in Autumn 1998 and aged in hogshead number 5812 for 11 years before bottling in Winter 2010.  More info
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About as rare as they come, this is one of the very last whiskies released before Ardbeg shut down for a few years. Highly collectable and absolutely incredible in flavour (we've heard).  More info
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Distilled in March 1983 at the Bowmore distillery, this was aged for 25 years in a single cask before bottling at natural cask strength in August 2008 for the Old and Rare Platinum selection.  More info
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This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in the Winter of 1999. Lots of buttery, woody, fruity flavour. This was aged for 8 years in refill hogshead number 4073. It was bottled under the Provenance range in...  More info
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This was distilled at the Caol Ila distillery in Askaig in the Spring of 1998. It was aged for a decade in a single refill barrel (number 4297) before bottling in the Spring of 2008 by Douglas Laing.  More info
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This was distilled in April 1992 and aged in refill hogshead number 3932 for15 years before bottling in October 2007 as an "Advance Sample" from the Old Malt Cask range.  More info
A stunning 26 year old from the Port Ellen distillery - one of the most legendary distilleries in the world. This was distilled in February 1982 and aged for 26 years in sherry butt number 4447 before...  More info

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