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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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Whisky matured in a wine cask is almost always an interesting and worthwhile experiment, for distillers and connoisseurs alike. If you're feeling adventurous, why not take a chance on this 16 year old...  More info
$98.11
25 year old malt from Islay's most prolific distillery - Caol Ila. Sweet Smooth, and very 'sherbet-lemony'. Only a hint of Smoke, and just superb.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
Un-chillfiltered Islay whisky from the Caol Ila distillery. This single malt spent 17 years maturing in two casks before it was bottled with an outturn of 782 bottles by Signatory in October 2013.  More info
$99.92
This Bunnahabhain was distilled in 1979 and aged for 33 years before bottling by Duncan Taylor for their fabulous Octave range.  More info
$484.55
A single cask Islay whisky from a secret distillery (let's just say its name rhymes with Moona-HAR-ven), this, as the name suggests, is a warming, spicy malt with loads of fruity flavour. Distilled in...  More info
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A love letter to the traditional craft, Kilchoman 100% Islay is produced from barley "grown, malted, distilled and bottled at the distillery". Originally, Kilchoman intended to produce all of their...  More info
$109.14
Bottled by Wemyss Malts, this Bunnahabhain whisky was distilled in 1989. With a name like Maritime Embrace, you can expect a nice big Atlantic/Loch Indaal hug. 265 bottles were produced.  More info
$174.19
Bruichladdich Cuvee 640 is the first of three whiskies from the distillery's Cuvee range. This Eroica edition was aged in American oak and finished in Limousin oak brandy casks before bottling. It...  More info
$180.25
This incredible Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky was distilled in December 1987 and aged for 25 years before being bottled up by Douglas Laing as part of their Old Particular range of single cask...  More info
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Bruichladdich Peat
(70cl, 46%)
A newer release to replace the 3D bottling, a more peat rich single malt from the Bruichladdich distillery with phenol levels of 35ppm, though it does not overbear the typical 'Laddie characteristics...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This is a Caol Ila distilled in 1990 and bottled by independent bottler Mackillops in 2012. The philosophy behind Mackillops is to take the appreciation of wine to whisky, so the whiskies selected...  More info
This is the first batch of delicious Bunnahabhain single malt from That Boutique-y Whisky. The whisky is rich and fruity with a hint of peat, and the comic book-style label depicts the distillery and...  More info
This was distilled at the Bunnahabhain distillery in 1990 before a 21 year maturation in a single cask (number 19). It was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd in 2012, and it comes without...  More info
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The Old Malt Cask, a classic range from indie bottlers Douglas Laing, now comes under the newly formed Hunter Laing as Fred and Stewart Laing have chosen to go their separate ways, splitting the...  More info
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This is a 20 year old single cask Bruichladdich from Duncan Taylor’s Dimensions series. It was distilled in November 1992 before maturation in cask 3674. It was bottled in December of 2012.  More info
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Matured in two first fill Sherry butts, this 2000 vintage Caol Ila was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in June 2012 as part of their Cask Strength range.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$96.85
This is a 20 year old Bruichladdich from Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection, distilled on the 25th November 1992 and aged in two hogsheads before bottling on the 11th December 2012. A release of...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$111.81
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The oldest official bottling of Lagavulin ever released. This rare, natural cask strength gem of limited release was distilled back in 1976 before being matured in refill...  More info
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Ooooh, a Signatory bottling of 11 year old cask strength, single cask Bunnahabhain Islay single malt Scotch whisky that was matured in a sherry butt. Nice. Just 677 of these little beauties were made.  More info
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A winter distillation of Bowmore from indie bottlers Douglas Laing. Part of their Provenance range, this Islay single cask whisky was bottled in spring 2013 after 10 years in a refill hogshead.  More info
$102.66
An 11 year old Bunnah from top independent bottlers Signatory. Matured in a single Sherry butt with an outrun of 665 bottled. Nice.  More info
$97.94
A cask strength bottling from Mackillop's distilled at the Bowmore Distillery on Islay in April of 1989. Bottled in March of 2013 in a limited run. Sterling stuff…  More info
$274.28
Single cask single malt whisky from the talented Caol Ila distillery near Port Askaig on Islay, bottled by Signatory. After maturing in a hogshead for 30 years(!), it was bottled for the Cask Strength...  More info
$258.79
A very well-aged Bruichladdich from Berry Brothers & Rudd dating to the Whyte & Mackay era.  More info
$152.00
One malt to rule them all. An incredible dram, Whisky Mag recommended, Lord of the Isles is an exquisite Ardbeg, matured for 25 years. This is rich, full-bodied, with good sweetness.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
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