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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 Mackillop's Choice Caol Ila 17 Year Old, distilled on 8 February 1990 and bottled in May 2007 at cask strength. It is, of course, non-chill filtered.  More info
This was distilled at the Bowmore distillery in Autumn 2002 before a 10 year maturation in a single refill hogshead. It was bottled for the Provenance range in Winter 2012.  More info
$102.57
Lovely, luscious Laphroaig single malt, bottled by Signatory at cask strength. It matured for 16 years in a single cask, from November 1996 to October 2013. A release of 271 bottled.  More info
$164.15
This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1987, aged for 24 years and bottled for Duncan Taylor for their stellar Octave range.  More info
$296.55
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
$92.95
When Stewart Laing started Hunter Laing after splitting the assets of Douglas Laing with his brother, he continued to produce independent bottlings of fantastic whisky for the Old Malt Cask selection...  More info
$133.86
A rare new release from Bruichladdich, this is the third edition in the DNA series. Created by Master Distiller Jim McEwan, this was made using some of the very best casks in the Bruichladdich...  More info
$368.75
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)
$62.95
This is the first Bowmore bottled by Speciality Drinks for their Elements of Islay range. The range is modelled on the periodic table with each Islay distillery being reduced to a couple of letters...  More info
$91.28
Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and this bottle has been filled without chill filtration for Signatory's Un-Chill Filtered range.  More info
$68.71
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
$251.92
Bunnahabhain distilled in 1988 and matured in a single sherry cask for 24 years? Erm, yes. Yes please.  More info
$180.15
Chocolate Honeycomb. Crunchie bars then? #copyrightinfringement

A fantastic single cask Bunnahabhain from Wemyss Malts.  More info
$97.80
Ardbeg sits on the island’s Southern coast and produces its highly peated malt whisky. Ardbeg closed in July 1996, thankfully the distillery was bought by Glenmorangie plc in 1997 and the distillery...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
STRICTLY ONE PER CUSTOMER

Bruichladdich's Fèis Ìle 2013 festival bottling was a tribute to Jim McEwan's impressive “50 years of whisky creation”. A vatting of various selected vintages, just 700...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$251.60
The second release in Bruichladdich's Uber Provenance range, made with barley grown on Islay at Dunlossit Farm. As Bruichladdich put it: "Now once again the sea salt spray lashed fields of Islay are...  More info
$75.07
Bottled by Douglas Hunter Laing, this Bowmore single cask whisky was matured for 15 years old. Part of the Old Malt Cask range, only 239 bottles were produced from cask 9808.  More info
$118.94
Ardbeg Galileo
(70cl, 49%)
The rumour mill has been rumbling about this Ardbeg release for some time. In April 2012 Ardbeg sent some of their new-make spirit up into space to make Ardbeg the first inter-stellar whisky, so it...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
No whisky was chillfiltered in the making of this 17 year old Caol Ila single malt. After being distilled in 1996 and maturing in casks 12559 and 12570, it was bottled by Signatory in 2013 with an...  More info
$99.83
This was distilled at the Ardbeg distillery in 1974 and it was bottled especially for Speymalt Whisky's Spirit of Scotland range. A very rare and collectible bottling from the legendary Islay...  More info
$1048.59
A 35 old single malt to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Islay distillery. This bottling comes in a presentation box with a black Bunnahabhain glass.  More info
$1191.36
Do you have problems with chill filtration? Well you're in luck, as Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection doesn't allow it! The range now includes a 16 year old Caol Ila from casks 5572 & 5573.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$93.44
A 33 year old Bunnahabhain distilled in April 1979 before being bottled in December 2012. Matured in cask 4761 and released as part of Duncan Taylor's Dimensions range at natural cask strength...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$371.73
A (comparatively) young Islay whisky from Signatory. Peat smoke ho!  More info
$72.23
STRICTLY ONE PER CUSTOMER

Bunnahabhain's Fèis Ìle festival release is a delightfully sherried whisky bottled at 60.1% abv on 19th March 2013. Only 606 bottles were released, each hand signed by...  More info
$251.60

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