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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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Machir Bay is a gorgeous sherry-finished malt from Islay's newest distillery, Kilchoman. This was released in 2012 and is made up of 60% 3 year old, 35% 4 year old and 5% 5 year old whisky. All were...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$60.37
This Caol Ila was distilled on the 18th November 1999, and was aged in hogsheads before bottling on the 2nd June 2011. A release of 936 bottles from Signatory.  More info
$56.24
And old (and by proxy, rare) bottle of Bunnahabhain 12. This was bottled back in those heady times when whisky came in 75cl bottles.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
25 year old, single cask Caol Ila! This was distilled on the 16th May 1984 and matured for 25 years in hogshead number 3636. Bottled by Signatory at cask strength on the 23rd July 2009, a release of...  More info
A small batch bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, aged for just a few years in a pair of refill hogsheads. This was bottled in Winter 2012 by Douglas Laing, who declare it to be "young and feisty"!  More info
$79.36
Distilled in 2001, this 11 year old Bowmore came from two casks and was subsequently finished in a Pedro Ximinez cask. Bottled by Carn Mor as part of their Strictly Limited range this is a release of...  More info
Douglas Laing have bottled a single cask of the peaty Laphroaig single malt, with chill filtration, for their Old Malt Cask series.  More info
$122.21
Packaged in a startling azure coloured bottle, Resurrection was the brainchild of Bruichladdich's Jim McEwan and was distilled from barley with 10ppm and matured in ex-bourbon casks for 8 years.  More info
Aged for 3 years in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels, this is a wonderful expression from Kilchoman. This is made 100% on Islay, using nothing but local ingredients  More info
$96.36
This was distilled at Caol Ila on the 14th December 1982 before a 29 year maturation in a single cask (hogshead 6485). It was bottled at natural cask strength in December 2012, and it comes from...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$247.95
The first ever 100% Islay release from Kilchoman, this is the incredibly rare natural cask strength edition. It was bottled from casks 100 thru' 103/08, and there are 1,060 numbered bottles, each...  More info
$563.08
The 2008 released 27 year old from Islay giant Laphroaig. This was distilled in 1981 from five casks, previously used for Oloroso sherry, a thick and full single malt with a deep hue.  More info
This is a smoky, rich 21 year old Caol Ila from the Vintage Malt Whisky Company's Coopers Choice range. It was aged in a single cask (number 9056) before bottling in 2012.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$92.95
Distilled at Caol Ila - an Islay distillery known for its oily, smoky character - on the 22nd November 1999, matured in two casks (hogsheads numbers 3/11067 11068) and bottled by Signatory on the 17th...  More info
An un-chillfiltered 22 year old Bruichladdich. This was distilled on the 11th February 1988, aged in hogsheads 65, 66 and 67 before bottling on the 11th February 2010 by Signatory. A release of 797...  More info
This was distilled in March of 1997, and it was aged in refill hogshead 3538 for 10 years before bottling in May 2008 by Douglas Laing.  More info
Rarer than hen's teeth this one. Special pre-release bottling of Bruichladdich's Octomore - the most heavily peated whisky in the world.  More info
This was distilled at Caol Ila on the 8th November 1983 and it was aged in hogshead number 5284 before it was bottled by Signatory on the 12th July 2011. This is a cask strength release of 254...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.5/5)
$176.91
A fabulous cask strength Port Ellen aged in a single refill butt (cask 517) for a whopping 27 years. Bottling on the 28th September 2010 by Signatory. A release of 608 bottles.  More info
This is the first batch of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Bowmore. This offering is a peaty style with a sherried streak running right through the middle of it.

‘That Boutique-y Whisky Company’...  More info
A 12 year old Islay malt from the Caol Ila distillery. This was bottled for the exceptional new Alchemist range.  More info
An amazing single cask Port Ellen, the legendary defunct Islay distillery. This was distilled in November 1979 and aged for a massive 30 years before bottling by Douglas Laing in August 2010. A...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
14 year old Bruichladdich, this was aged for 14 years in bourbon casks before being finished in Kosher wine casks from the Carmel winery in Israel.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (0.5/5)
$61.71
A 40 year old vintage bottling from the Bunnahabhain distillery, distilled in 1963 and bottled at natural cask strength, which is only 42.9%, such has been the effects of age on the alcohol con10t...  More info
This was distilled in 1985 and aged in sherry and bourbon casks in the renowned Bowmore No. 1 Vaults. This was bottled in 2012 at natural cask strength for the 2012 Feis Ile (Islay Festival) and there...  More info
$1287.14

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