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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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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
This was distilled at the Laphroaig distillery on the 4th April 1995, and it was aged for 16 years in bourbon barrel 47 before bottling by Signatory for its Cask Strength Collection on the 25th...  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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Distilled on the 18th December 1997 and aged for 13 years until bottling by Signatory on the 25th October 2011. A cask strength, heavily peated Bunnahabhain and a release of 560 numbered bottles.  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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Bunnahabhain Darach Ur 1l
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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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This was distilled at Bunnahabhain on the 25th May 1992, and it was aged in sherry butt 1691 for 19 years before bottling on the 17th October 2011 for the Carn Mor range. A release of 587 numbered...  More info
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A super limited release of independently bottled Ardbeg! There are just 306 bottles of this stuff, bottled at natural cask strength in 2011 at the Bruichladdich distillery after 17 years in a single...  More info
A single cask, independent bottling of Ardbeg, likely to sell out before I finish typing this sentence! It was distilled in 1993 and aged for 18 years in a bourbon cask before bottling at the...  More info
This Bunnahabhain was distilled in June 1987 and it was aged for 24 years in cask 1598 before bottling by Duncan Taylor for their Rare Auld range in November 2011. A release of 399 numbered bottles.  More info
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 31 year old Caol Ila distilled on the 2nd May 1979 and aged in cask 5305 before bottling in June of 2010 for the Mackillop's Choice range.  More info
This was distilled at Bowmore on the 12th March 1984 and it was aged in cask M427 for 25 years before bottling in July 2009 by Montgomerie's.  More info
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Peated to 167 PPM, Octomore 4.1 is an intense, unusual whisky from Bruichladdich which Jim Murray awarded a very impressive 92 points, commenting on its chocolate-rich flavour he described it as...  More info
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This very special Bowmore was distilled on the 14th June 1999 and it was aged in sherry, bourbon and wine casks in warehouse 6 before bottling in 2009 for that year's Feis Ile. A release of 900...  More info
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Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal was released in celebration of Feis Ile 2009. This rare, one-off whisky was distilled on the 22nd April 1993, and it was aged in sherry wood. A release of 1,000 bottles.  More info
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Made especially for the 2011 Feis Ile, this Bowmore was aged for 15 years and finished in a sherry cask before bottling at natural cask strength. A release of just 500 bottles. Very rare!  More info
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Caol Ila Distillery Only
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The very rare and very special distillery only bottling from Caol Ila. To get this stuff usually, you have to go all the way to Islay! This was launched at the 2007 Feis Ile, and it has a lovely...  More info
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