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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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One of Bunnahabhain's special bottlings produced for the 2014 Islay whisky festival. Distilled in November 1996, it was moved into a Cognac cask in October 2007 before...  More info
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Single malt Scotch whisky from that there Bowmore distillery on Islay! Drawn from two consecutive casks, this whisky was bottled by Signatory for the Un-Chillfiltered Collection in December 2013...  More info
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Sherry butt-matured Laphroaig, bottled as part of Hunter Laing's Old Malt Cask range. From April 2000 to April 2014, this single malt aged in Sherry butt #10432. Afterwards, the whisky was placed into...  More info
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This lovely Laphroaig was distilled in October 1996. Following that, the cask rested for 17 years until Hunter Laing bottled it up for their Old Malt Cask range in October 2013. Just 347 bottles of...  More info
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Here's a great chance to get your hands on a 20 year old Bruichladdich single malt! This Islay expression matured from 1993 to 2013, when it was bottled by WM Cadenhead with an outturn of 738 bottles...  More info
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Well, hello there, cask strength Laphroaig! This peaty treat was distillery at the distillery on Islay in April 1997 and matured in a single refill Sherry butt for 16 years, all the way until February...  More info
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A 33 year old (!) Caol Ila matured in a single hogshead and then bottled by those lovely folk over at Douglas Laing in December 2013. Just 136 bottles of this wonderful Islay whisky were produced.  More info
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Ardbeg 1977
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Rare and delicious Ardbeg! Jim Murray awarded this 96 points and described it as "simply one of the greatest experiences". This was distilled in 1977 and bottled in 2001, part of a release of 2,400...  More info
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15 year old Bowmore single malt, what a treat! This Islay whisky was distilled in January 1998 and left to mature in a single refill hogshead. Many years later, in December 2013, the chaps at Hunter...  More info
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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
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