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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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A 27 year old, single cask Port Ellen, need we say more? Well, just in case we'll add that it was distilled in Spring 1983 (just before the legendary distillery closed for good) and was bottled in...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
An astonishing 11 year old single cask from Ardbeg - stunning in flavour and very, very rare. This was distilled in 1998 and aged in cask 1275 (a first fill bourbon barrel) before bottling in 2009 - a...  More info
$865.88
Laphroaig 25 Year Old
(70cl, 45.10%)
The 25 year old Laphroaig, released in 2007. This is a surprisingly mellow dram from the distillery.  More info
The oldest official bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, this 25 year old Islay single malt was released as one of just 6,000 bottles, distilled in 1978 and bottled in 2003 at cask strength.  More info
Distilled at Bunnahabhain in November of 1986 and aged in cask 1575 before bottling by Duncan Taylor in September 2011. A 24 year old, single cask, cask strength whisky, and a release of 174 bottles.  More info
An 11 year old Bowmore, distilled in September 2000 and aged in a sherry butt before bottling in November 2011. A rich, muscular malt, and part of a release of just 439 bottles.  More info
$91.87
An old, rich Caol Ila, distilled in September 1980 and aged for 30 years in a refill hogshead. This was bottled in May of 2011 for the Old Malt Cask range. Just 270 bottles.  More info
$249.38
The now very rare first release of Bruichladdich’s Octomore. When it was released it was the world’s peatiest whisky, with phenol levels of 131ppm. This has since been eclipsed by the astonishing...  More info
A single cask Bruichladdich distilled in November 1993, matured for 15 years in a refill hogshead and bottled in November of 2008 as part of a release of 353 bottles.  More info
An incredible high strength Caol Ila, especially when considering the age! This was distilled in 1975, and was bottled for Diageo's Rare Malts series. These old Rare Malts are well worth a try, as you...  More info
Ardbeg day was released for Feis Ile 2012 but is basically a Committee release. It's a fantastic whisky, and a departure for the distillery which normally releases very limited, exceptional single...  More info
$251.84
A stunning single cask, deeply sherried Islay whisky from Bunnahabhain. This was distilled in 2000, aged in cask 948 and was bottled at 10 years old in 2011 by Adelphi. A release of 636 bottles.  More info
$107.94
Bowmore 17 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A 17 year old Bowmore with a beautifully balanced, rounded palate with notes of soft chocolate, toffee apples and a little wood smoke. This was a Gold Medal winner at the International Spirits...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$162.82
Bruichladdich X4
(70cl, 50%)
A malt spirit from Islay. This was distilled by Bruichladdich, and is the first quadruple pot-distilled spirit made from just barley in around three centuries!  More info
This Bowmore was bottled in 2012 by Berry Brothers and Rudd. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and still delivers a top quality Scotch.  More info
$80.56
A five year old release from Kilchoman, distilled in 2006. This is actually the first ever whisky of this age from the distillery, 80% aged in first fill bourbon and 20% in refill bourbon. A limited...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$81.39
Kilchoman Feis Ile 2011
(70cl, 59.50%)
Bottled especially for the 2011 Feis Ile, this potent, rich Kilchoman comes at natural cask strength, and it offers up a lot of flavour. Lots of peat going on here...  More info
$377.80
A Bruichladdich from several vintages, created to show the complexity of the whisky. This is the third edition of Infinity, in general release, matured in refill sherry and tempranillo casks, with...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$73.01
Lagavulin Feis Ile 2012
(70cl, 55.10%)
Lagavulin's incredible 2012 Feis Ile release, a real favourite here with lots to discover.  More info
$503.76
A 27 year old Port Ellen bottled under the Old Malt Cask label from Douglas Laing. It won't be around for ever, Port Ellen. And you'll miss it when it's gone so you will.  More info
This was distilled at Bunnahabhain on the 21st September 2001 and it was aged in sherry butt 1765 for 10 years before bottling on the 25th November 2011 for Signatory's Cask Strength Collection. A...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
A sherry matured Ardbeg, distilled in 1993 and bottled by Gordon and MacPhail for the Connoisseurs Choice range.  More info
$73.19
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
A big, spicy, smoky Laphroaig distilled on the 29th October 1990 and aged for 21 years before bottling in March of 2012. This is a cask strength release from MacKillop's Choice, aged in cask 11728.  More info
Smoky, rich Laphroaig from BBR, distilled 1998 and bottled 2010.  More info
$92.25
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