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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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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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To say bottlings of Port Ellen are sought after is just a bit of an understatement. While the distillery remains silent, and has done since 1983, releases like this rare Gordon & MacPahil Connoisseurs...  More info
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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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This is a single cask bottling of Port Ellen single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a refill butt from February 1983 until September 2010. Part of the Single Malts of Scotland range of independent...  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
This 20 year old Bruichladdich has been finished in an ex-sherrywood octave cask, which are one-eighth the size of a regular sherry butt. This is done to increase the amount of interaction between the...  More info
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With a presentation box almost as gorgeous as the whisky itself, you know you're in for a treat with The Duncan Taylor Single range of independently bottled single cask whiskies. This particular treat...  More info
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Ardbeg 1974 Provenance
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An incredibly rare, highly collectible and rather legendary bottle of vintage Ardbeg, bottled at natural cask strength. Distilled in 1974, Serge from WhiskyFun.com awarded this an astonishing 95...  More info
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On the 15th February 2010, the release of Ardbeg Rollercoaster was met with palpable excitement. The 50,000 Committee Members were keen to get their hands on the 15,000 bottles and apparently the...  More info
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A Signatory bottling of 16 year old Bowmore single malt from Islay taken from consecutive hogsheads. 502 bottles were produced at 54% as part of the Cask Strength Collection.  More info
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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
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Distilled in March 1996 and bottled in March 2014, this 18 year old Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky features plenty of ash and smoke alongside rich barley - all excellent things, we must say. It was...  More info
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Ardbeg 1980 Kildalton
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Liquid gold for any fans of Ardbeg, Kildalton is a legendary whisky, which was distilled in 1980 and release in 2004 with an outturn of 1,300, never-to-be-repeated bottles. All at natural cask...  More info
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12 year old Bowmore single malt, bottled by Douglas Laing for their Old Particular range. Like us, we're sure you're more than eager to get your hands on some excellent Islay whisky, so don't let this...  More info
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A Bunnahabhain bottled by Berry Bros. & Rudd, what a fantastic excuse for alliteration and awesome single cask whisky! This Islay single malt aged for 25 years before it was bottled.  More info
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An indie bottling of Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, matured for 5 years in a single refill hogshead. It was distilled in 2008 and bottled in 2014 with an outturn of 381 bottles.  More info
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An Islay favourite, Caol Ila make a glorious peated single malt. if you're looking for proof, look no further than this independent bottling of 13 year old Caol Ila, taken from a refill hogshead...  More info
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Distilled at the Bunnahabhain distillery on Islay, this 21 year old whisky has earned its place in Hunter Laing's Old Malt Cask range.

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