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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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Bruichladdich's XX Nostalgia is the distillery's 2012 Feis Ile bottling, and very nice it is too. As you might expect from Bruichladdich it has an unusual twist, and has been finished in Gaga Barolo...  More info
$240.57
Lagavulin Feis Ile 2012
(70cl, 55.10%)
Lagavulin's incredible 2012 Feis Ile release, a real favourite here with lots to discover.  More info
$481.23
Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin
(70cl, 51.20%)
Cairdeas means frienship in Gaelic, a fitting moniker for a bottling relased to celebrate the distillery's popular friends programme. It's really rather good.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$208.49
Caol Ila Feis Ile 2012
(70cl, 60.40%)
Caol Ila's Feris Ile 2012 bottling, this is a big bruiser of a whisky, finished in second-fill sherry casks.  More info
$240.88
A beautiful 14 year old, single cask Ardbeg bottled especially for the 2010 Feis Ile (Islay Festival). This was distilled on the 7th December 1995, it was then aged in cask 2761 (a second fill bourbon...  More info
$962.54
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
$827.16
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
$962.60
Bowmore 100 Degrees Proof
(100cl, 57.10%)
Produced for the travel market, Bowmore 100 degrees Proof is a cask-strength, non chill-filtered Bowmore that packs a hefty maritime punch.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$128.27
Bowmore Springtide
(70cl, 54.90%)
Bowmore Springtide is the distillery's premium offering for the travel retail market, a cask strength, non chill-filtered single malt predominantly matured in first-fill Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.  More info
$320.79
A 15-year-old expression from Bowmore, aimed at the travel retail market, Mariner is a very different Bowmore with a maritime twist.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$112.22
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
$1283.41
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
$240.57
A distillery-only release from Kilchoman Feis Ile 2012. It's a single cask malt matured in a bourbon cask from Buffalo Trace.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$192.44
A Bowmore from Kilchoman? Sort of... Kilchoman uses the MacBeatha name to market their single cask bottlings from other Islay distilleries. This is the fourth edition in the range, a single cask...  More info
$139.58
A very special single cask Laphroig, aged for 12 years and bottled for Highgrove House, the official home of Prince Charles. The prince is a big fan of Laphroaig so we imagine he'll be very pleased...  More info
$240.57
A very curious malt distilled at Bruichladdich in 2001. This is a heavily peated Port Charlotte whisky, aged in a single cask (number 275) and bottled on the 5th August 2011. A release of 249 numbered...  More info
$481.23
Bowmore Enigma is a 12-year-old expression with a higher proportion of sherry matured whisky than the standard bottling.
Bottled for the travel retail market, this is rich and very drinkable.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$80.14
This Bruichladdich was distilled before the distillery was moth-balled and reopened. Berry Brothers and Rudd of St James', London, bottled this particular Bruichladdich in 2011.  More info
$125.40
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
$76.96
This Bowmore was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd for the Boisdale chain of Scottish bars and restaurants. It is bottled at 46%abv without chill filtration.  More info
$69.77
A superb and very rare 12 year old Bunnahabhain at natural cask strength, matured in an Amontillado sherry cask. This was bottled especially for the 2012 Feis Ile (Islay Festival) and there are just...  More info
$481.23
Kilchoman's Feis Ile 2012 release is a cask-strength sherry-finished whisky with a enticing smokey sweet palate following a floral nose. It's non chill-filtered.  More info
$240.57
Mmm… A delicious 14 year old Bowmore distilled on the 13th June 1997 and aged in hogshead 1904 before bottling on the 29th March 2012. A release of 316 numbered bottles from Signatory's Cask Strength...  More info
$113.68
This was distilled at the Laphroaig distillery in February 2001 and aged for 11 years in a refill hogshead before bottling in April of 2012. This was a release of 289 bottles from Douglas Laing's Old...  More info
$111.71
A 13 year old Bowmore distilled in May 1997 and aged in a single refill hogshead before bottling by Douglas Laing in February 2011. This comes from the Old Malt Cask range, and there are just 297...  More info
$103.05

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