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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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The second release of Bowmore's cask strength Tempest. This is aged for 10 years in first fill bourbon casks in the Number 1 vaults at Bowmore, which are literally at the edge of Loch Indaal.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$72.21
From one of the excellent distilleries on the Island of Islay comes this edition of Mackillop's Choice. Give a warm welcome to the Bowmore 1990, which was distilled in April 1990 and bottled in July...  More info
$281.94
This is the fourth Islay whisky bottled from a distillery on the island whose name begins with Br...  More info
$92.67
Not only is Bruichladdich Octomore the world's most heavily peated whisky, at 140 ppm, this astonishingly complex whisky has also been finished (or ACEd (Additional Cask Enhancement) in...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$716.73
Saying that Port Ellen whisky is sought-after is like saying jam is pretty good on toast - a massive understatement! The distillery on Islay closed in 1983, to the disappointment of many who loved...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$3075.72
A 25 year old from the Bowmore distillery aged in American bourbon and Spanish sherry casks. The sherry influence combines wonderfully with the coastal, smoky distillery style to create a sublime aged...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$702.81
A second of two special releases to mark the acquisition and rebirth of the Islay distillery, originally founded in 1881. Distilled in 2001 and matured in bourbon casks, 2,500 unpeated bottles were...  More info
$115.51
24 year old single malt from Islay's Bunnahabhain distillery, bottled by A. D. Rattray in Kirkoswald. This delicious dram was distilled in October 1989, matured in a bourbon hogshead and bottled in...  More info
$146.16
Distilled in 2004 and bottled in 2013 by Gordon and MacPhail for The MacPhail's Collection, this is a rather tempting sherry matured Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky.  More info
$51.02
314 bottles were produced from the single refill hogshead cask that this Laphroaig whisky happily matured inside for 15 years. Part of Douglas Laing's Directors' Cut range, this wonderful Islay whisky...  More info
$218.11
Bowmore 18 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A comparatively recent release from Bowmore, the 18 year old was launched in January of 2007 to replace the 17 year old. A perfumed, fruity offering from the Islay distillery.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$117.08
Bowmore's 4th release of the 10 year old, bourbon matured Tempest. Decribed on the box as being "as fresh as the sea-air with wisps of peat smoke and sweet citrus", this matches this batch...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$84.25
Part of Diageo's Distillers Edition range comes a 2001 vintage single malt Scotch whisky from Caol Ila, which has been matured in American oak and finished in Moscatel wine casks. A limited edition...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$89.31
An independent bottling of Laphroaig single malt Scotch whisky from Mackillop's, distilled in June 1991 and bottled in September 2013. Just 280 bottles were produced.  More info
$339.45
Caol Ila Moch
(70cl, 43%)
Moch is Gaelic for dawn, and this release from Caol Ila is an altogether lighter prospect than the distillery's excellent 12 year old standard expression.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$72.82
Bunnahabhain Toiteach
(70cl, 46%)
Toiteach is Gaelic for "Smoky", a hint of what's to come. That's right, a heavily peated Bunnahabhain! A great chance to try a smoky malt from a distiller of gentle, fruity Islay whisky.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$101.10
The third release of the stunningly good Bowmore Tempest, a cask-strength 10 year old from the Islay distillery. This particular expression offers up oodles of fruity flavour and complexity.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$72.64
Made from barley harvested at Rockside Farm, Islay, in 2006 and distilled in 2007. The specially selected grain, the slow distillation and carefully considered casks were vital in creating this iconic...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$75.80
The second batch of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's Bowmore is a smoky, muscular whisky with more than a hint of sherry in the mix. It comes with a rather wonderful comic book illustration of the...  More info
$90.20
Caol Ila 18 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A wonderfully balanced expression from the core Caol Ila range, this 18 year old is malty and thick with notes of Caol Ila smoke and phenols, a lovely Islay single malt without extreme levels of peat...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$116.74
A half bottle of the iconic, medicinal 10 year Islay's bestselling distillery, Laphroaig. This is a massive, punchy dram, it is said the medicinal character is from the high moss content in the peat.  More info
$43.39
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Named after distillery manager Billy Stitchell who retires this year, this bottling honours his 39 years at Caol Ila, following in the footsteps of four previous generations...  More info
$117.96
Created by Jim McEwan from whisky matured in American oak casks alongside Lochindaal, and chosen to represent the classic, unpeated distillery style. Bruichladdich's new signature bottling is made...  More info
$70.74
Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old
(70cl, 46.30%)
In what will be seen as a positive move to whisky connoisseurs, Bunnahabhain have decided to bottle the 25 year old without chill-filtration and without colouring. Presented in smoked oak glass bottle...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$321.22
The first of two special releases to mark the acquisition and rebirth of Bruichladdich distillery, distilled in 1998 under the previous ownership. 2,500 bottles were produced, matured in bourbon casks...  More info
$139.09
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