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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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Ardbeg changed hands between 1996 and 1997, since then the distillery has only released a Ten Year Old with an age statement. So it is pretty darn exciting *massively massively exciting* to get to try...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
A marvellous and decidedly rare Port Ellen distilled in 1982 and aged for a massive 30 years in a single refill hogshead before bottling in 2012 for Douglas Laing's premium Old and Rare Platinum...  More info
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This is a fourteen year old Caol Ila bottled without chill-filtration by Signatory to maintain flavour and texture.  More info
£41.01
This is twenty-two year old Bowmore was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd from a single cask.  More info
£92.37
This is the second edition of the Kilchoman 100% Islay. The whisky is a 50:50 vatting of three and four year old whisky matured in ex-Bourbon casks. The whisky is entirely produced on the island of...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This is a big sherried Bunnahabhain bottled by independent bottler Murray McDavid (of that there Bruichladdich).  More info
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This Caol Ila boasts an incredible twenty-nine years of cask ageing and is a stupendous Islay whisky being both smoky and graceful in equal quantities.

This whisky was bottled by Duncan Taylor for...  More info
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This is the latest release from Bruichladdich. An un-peated sixteen year old bottling from an American Oak cask.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
There is no stopping the black peat train that rattles along tracks of mulch that is Bruichladdich's Octomore range. This peat beast is topping an almighty 169ppm (that's phenol parts per million, how...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
£70.25
The 10 year old Port Charlotte is the first of the PC bottlings to join Bruichladdich's core range. It is a rich, smouldering dram distilled from malt peated to 40ppm.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
£43.15
This Port Charlotte is a heavily peated (44ppm) single malt whisky from the progressive Islay distillers at Bruichladdich. This bottling is a blend of multiple vintages of this smoky whisky and offers...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
£43.83
This is a twenty year old Bowmore bottled by Mackillop's Choice in 2012. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and produces a smoky malt whisky.  More info
This whisky is from the long-since closed distillery of Port Ellen and despite a whole bunch of distilleries sadly closing in the early 1980s Port Ellen remains one of the most highly regarded...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This whisky hails from the illustrious Islay distillery of Ardbeg - that sits on the island’s Southern coast and produces its highly peated malt whisky. Ardbeg closed in July 1996, thankfully the...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Today Port Ellen is a whisky legend, thanks to a myriad of reasons in the early 1980s the distillery was closed. However, this was no judgement on its character or of it's quality, and when the...  More info
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A beautiful Laphroaig from the Un-Chillfiltered collection from Signatory, distilled on the 12th May 1998, aged in hogsheads 5562 and 5563 and bottled on the 30th May 2012. A release of 664 numbered...  More info
£55.40
This is a twenty-two year old Bowmore from independent bottlers Murray MsDavid's Mission range. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on the storm-swept isle of Islay and displays peaty coastal flavours...  More info
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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
Carn Mor have bottled this 22 year old, 1990 vintage Bruichladdich for their Celebration of the Cask series. Bruichladdich was mothballed during the 1990s and this whisky was distilled before this...  More info
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These mid-1990s Connoisseur's Choice bottlings of mid-70s Ardbegs have become legendary, and this is a truly stunning example we don't expect to hang around very long...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£505.97
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)
£37.52
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
£149.95
Lagavulin Feis Ile 2012
(70cl, 55.10%)
Lagavulin's incredible 2012 Feis Ile release, a real favourite here with lots to discover.  More info
£299.95
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)
£129.95
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
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