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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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The second release in the Lg range of Elements. An interesting alternative to the distillery's standard bottling.  More info
$83.50
Distilled at Bunnahabhain in February 1979, this was aged for 32 years in cask number 1774 before bottling at natural cask strength in June 2011. A release of 499 bottles from Duncan Taylor.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Ardbeg Feis Ile 2011
(70cl, 55.10%)
Ardbeg's absolutely amazing Feis Ile bottling, bottled in 2011. This very rare Ardbeg was distilled in 1998 and aged in two Pedro Ximenez butts (making this the closest thing you'll ever get to a...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$848.80
Distilled in Laphroaig in November 1990, aged in refill hogshead for 16 years and bottled in December 2006 for Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range. A release of 295 bottles.  More info
A very peaty Caol Ila from Wemyss Malts, who favour evocative names for their releases, this being no exception. Smokiness abounds and this is a great dram for those in search of phenolic excellence...  More info
$92.36
A fruity, gentle Islay whisky, bottled for Duncan Taylor's NC2 range. This was distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2009. It is both non-chillfiltered and non caramel coloured.  More info
This is the stunning Batch 3 of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's Ardbeg - it's a superb little whisky which flaunts the beautiful house style with more than a hint of sweet sherry too.

The label...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
This Bruichladdich was matured in bourbon barrels before a finish in Fino sherry casks. Part of an outturn of 6,000 bottles.  More info
$94.06
From the Murray McDavid Mission series of casks selected by Jim McEwan and bottled at the Bruichladdich distillery. This was distilled at Caol Ila in 1990, matured in bourbon barrels for 17 years and...  More info
A Signatory bottling from Caol Ila. This was distilled on the 22nd November 1999 and matured in two hogsheads (umbers 3/1063 and 1064) for 10 years before bottling on the 26th November 2009. A release...  More info
An unbelievably good single cask Caol Ila that was so good we put our name on it! This was distilled in 1980 and aged in a single refill hogshead before bottling in 2010. A release of just 154 bottles...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
A teenaged Caol Ila bottled by Gordon and MacPhail as part of their renowned Connoisseurs Choice range.  More info
$314.00
Laphroaig 15 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A now discontinued bottling, this was replaced this year by the 18 year old. The old 15 is becoming rather rare, definitely an investment dram.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This Bunnahabhain was distilled in September 1988 and it was aged for 23 years in cask 2358 before bottling by Duncan Taylor for their Dimensions series in November 2011. A release of 225 numbered...  More info
A fabulous 25 year old Laphroaig, and an official bottling too. This stuff is at natural cask strength, and it's a huge whisky with loads of character. It was also awarded the title "Best Cask...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
A single cask from Caol Ila, bottled by Speciality Drinks. This was distilled on the 11th January 1991 and aged for 18 years in a hogshead (cask 194/200) before bottling on the 20th April 2009 at Cask...  More info
$99.12
Your chance to taste Bruichladdich with the added finesse of a First Growth wine from Bordeaux - France's sexiest wine region! This is the third release, 'Cuvée C' which was finished in Chateau...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
One of the rarest things ever to be, Ardbeg's stunning cask 1217 was especially laid down for Lord Robertson's (NATO Secretary General, born on Islay) charity project Erskine, which provides nursing...  More info
$1018.64
A staggeringly rich 40 year old Bunnahabhain, bottled by Duncan Taylor for their Lonach range.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Distilled in March 1983 at the Bowmore distillery, this was aged for 25 years in a single cask before bottling at natural cask strength in August 2008 for the Old and Rare Platinum selection.  More info
A "rather smoky" 10 year old Laphroaig bottled by Douglas Laing for its quality as a fine accompaniment to a good cigar. A release of 362 bottles from a single refill hogshead.  More info
$110.13
A beautiful hogshead-matured Laphroaig from Signatory's Cask Strength Collection. This was distilled on the 26th November 1996 before a 15 year maturation in a single cask. It was bottled at natural...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$155.06
Distilled at Caol Ila in 1984 and aged for 23 years in cask number 6262 before bottling by Adelphi in 2008 as part of a release of 232 cask strength bottles.  More info
This 19 year old Bruichladdich was distilled on the 3rd April 1992. It was aged in two hogsheads (numbers 1344 and 1352) before bottling by Signatory on the 26th January 2012. A release of 665...  More info
$89.40
This 16 year old was matured in ex-bourbon casks. The rather ominous 'Airigh Nam Beist' derives from the Scotch Gaelic for 'Shelter of the Beast'. Ardbeg describe this as "Ardbeg Icecream" - we...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)

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