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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 16 year old single cask Bruichladdich distilled in November of 1993, this was aged in a refill hogshead before bottling in July 2010 for Douglas Laing's stellar Old Malt Cask range. A release of 346...  More info
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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
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A rare single cask Laphroaig, distilled in February of 1986, and aged for 25 years in a refill hogshead before bottling for Douglas Laing's Old and Rare Platinum Selection in December 2011, an outturn...  More info
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A beautiful single cask, 30 year old Caol Ila from Douglas Laing's wonderful Old and Rare Platinum Selection. This was distilled in November 1980, and it was matured in a refill hogshead before...  More info
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A single cask Bunnahabhain, distilled in December 1978, and aged for 33 years before bottling in December 2011 for Douglas Laing's Old and Rare Platinum Selection.  More info
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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
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A sherry-butt-matured Bunnahabhain distilled in Autumn 2001 and aged for 9 years before bottling in Spring 2011. A delicious single cask whisky from the Provenance range.  More info
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Honey Spice from Wemyss Malts is a tasty Bunnahabhain matured in first fill sherry casks and bottled at 46%.  More info
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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
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A teenaged Caol Ila bottled by Gordon and MacPhail as part of their renowned Connoisseurs Choice range.  More info
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A special Caol Ila and the latest in a line of fantastic whiskies in the Distillers Edition range. The whisky has been double matured, first in American oak casks then a second maturation in casks...  More info
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A beautiful whisky, which tastes exactly as the name suggests! This is a single cask Islay malt, distilled in 1996, and aged in a hogshead before bottling for the Wemyss Malts range in 2011. A release...  More info
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A 28 year old Caol Ila bottled in 2012 by Adelphi, and one of 250 bottles matured in a refill bourbon hogshead.  More info
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An interesting Bowmore from Adelphi which offers marked differences to the distillery's standard character.  More info
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This 12 year old Caol Ila was distilled on the 18th November 1999 and it was aged in two hogsheads (casks 310804 and 310806) before bottling by Signatory on the 12th December 2011. A release of 887...  More info
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A cask strength, 25 year old Bowmore distilled on the 22nd November 1985 and aged in hogshead number 32206 before bottling by Signatory on the 3rd November 2011. A release of 271 numbered bottles at...  More info
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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
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A litre bottle of delicious cask strength Bowmore, bottled for the travel retail market. A tremendously rich, spicy, muscular malt.  More info
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A supremely good little whisky, bottled by Speciality Drinks. Bn1 is the first ever Elements of Islay release from this secret "unnamed" distillery at the north of Islay whose name rhymes with...  More info
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A delicious single cask Bunnahabhain distilled in 1997 and bottled by Wemyss Malts in August of 2008. This is a release of just 360 bottles.  More info
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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
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