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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 have launched a new range of whiskies which aim to create a signature style and move away from the often adventurous bottlings of the last ten years. This 22 year old forms the older of...  More info
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Not only is Bruichladdich Octomore the world's most heavily peated whisky, at 140 ppm, this astonishingly complex whisky has also been finished (or ACEd (Additional Cask Enhancement) in...  More info
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I don't want to alarm anyone, but Hunter Laing have bottled a cask of 21 year old Ardbeg single malt Scotch whisky for the 15th anniversary of their Old Malt Cask range. There were just 136 bottles...  More info
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The 2014 release of Kilchoman's Loch Gorm single malt, which has been fully matured in Oloroso Sherry butts from 2009 to 2014. The previous Loch Gorm release won the Islay distillery a Gold Medal in...  More info
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Taken from European oak Sherry butts specially selected by Iain McArthur, this Fèis Ìle 2014 bottling of Lagavulin was distilled back in 1995 and stood out as one of the...  More info
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Ardbog (Ardbeg)
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A limited edition Ardbeg released during the Fèis Ìle whisky festival. Aged in a combination of bourbon as well as some Manzanilla sherry casks, it was produced for...  More info
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An independently bottled single malt Scotch whisky from the legendary Port Ellen distillery on the Island of Islay. It was distilled in June 1982 and bottled in March 2014 for the Mackillop's Choice...  More info
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Ah, Port Ellen, how we love you. And by 'we' I don't just mean us at MoM towers, whisky fans around the world adore this legendary malt from an Islay distillery that shut...  More info
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Caol Ila's Fèis Ìle 2014 bottling was selected by new distillery manager David Wood (a truly excellent name for anybody in a position to choose casks) who carries on Billy...  More info
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This year's Cairdeas release ("Cairdeas", pronounced 'car-chase', means 'friendship' in Gaelic) was matured in bourbon barrels and Amontillado hogsheads.
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The second release of Bowmore's cask strength Tempest. This is aged for 10 years in first fill bourbon casks in the Number 1 vaults at Bowmore, which are literally at the edge of Loch Indaal.  More info
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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stanley P. Morrison Company, Bowmore's owners since 1963, this 32 year old single malt Scotch whisky was bottled around the year 2000. The Bowmore whisky...  More info
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