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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 30 year old Caol Ila distilled in December 1982 and bottled in April 2013 by Signatory as part of their Cask Strength Collection. Matured in cask 6483, there was an outturn of 270 bottles.  More info
$254.90
The second batch of sherried Bunnahabhain distilled in December 1991 and bottled by Duncan Taylor. This release was matured for 20 years.  More info
$161.21
Classic peaty Islay goodness here, matured in a single refil hogshead for 16 years before being bottled by Hunter Laing in December 2013. 322 bottles of this Laphroaig were produced at 50% abv.  More info
$137.21
A Douglas Laing bottling of 17 year old single malt from the particularly talented Islay distillery, Caol Ila. Oh, what a coincidence! I used the word "particularly" and this is an Old Particular...  More info
$127.29
This single malt Bowmore whisky matured in a single hoggie for 16 years, from June 1997 to November 2013, until it was bottled by Signatory for the Cask Strength Collection. 309 bottles of this fab...  More info
$114.53
A sooty 17 year old Bowmore here from Douglas Laing's particularly good old Particular range. 312 bottles of this Islay whisky were produced from a single hogshead.  More info
$157.76
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
$139.20
This is a twenty-one year old bottling of Islay's eldest distillery from the 1990's. Bowmore boasts peated and coastal qualities in abundance.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$708.69
A single cask independent bottling of Laphroaig single malt whisky, because there can never be too much Islay whisky. This release from cask 9932 was matured for 15 years before Hunter Laing bottled...  More info
$130.93
A 30 year old Caol Ila from Signatory? How delicious! Thank you. What do you mean I only get to write the bottling note, and that I don't get to take all of these home with me? Hmph. Well, I guess I...  More info
$254.90
This was distilled at the Bunnahabhain distillery in 1990 before a 21 year maturation in a single cask (number 19). It was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd in 2012, and it comes without...  More info
$151.14
A cask strength bottling from Mackillop's distilled at the Bowmore Distillery on Islay in April of 1989. Bottled in March of 2013 in a limited run. Sterling stuff…  More info
$270.16
This is a fourteen year old Bunnahabhain from Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range.

The Old Malt Cask range began as a release of fifty bottlings in 1998 to commemorate Douglas Laing's fiftieth...  More info
$147.37
This Bunnahabhain was distilled in 1979 and aged for 33 years before bottling by Duncan Taylor for their fabulous Octave range.  More info
$477.27
Hunter Laing?! What happened to that Douglas fellow who used to have his name on my Old Malt Cask bottles? Well, the Laing brothers have gone their separate ways, with Stewart retaining the popular...  More info
$134.61
A very well-aged Bruichladdich from Berry Brothers & Rudd dating to the Whyte & Mackay era.  More info
$149.72
A single cask Islay whisky from a secret distillery (let's just say its name rhymes with Moona-HAR-ven), this, as the name suggests, is a warming, spicy malt with loads of fruity flavour. Distilled in...  More info
$118.26
A litre bottle of Lagavulin's classic 16 year old. A must have Islay malt, with oodles of complexity. The definition of smoky whisky…  More info
The Old Malt Cask, a classic range from indie bottlers Douglas Laing, now comes under the newly formed Hunter Laing as Fred and Stewart Laing have chosen to go their separate ways, splitting the...  More info
$186.04
A winter distillation of Bowmore from indie bottlers Douglas Laing. Part of their Provenance range, this Islay single cask whisky was bottled in spring 2013 after 10 years in a refill hogshead.  More info
$101.12
This is a 20 year old Bruichladdich from Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection, distilled on the 25th November 1992 and aged in two hogsheads before bottling on the 11th December 2012. A release of...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$110.13
This incredible Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky was distilled in December 1987 and aged for 25 years before being bottled up by Douglas Laing as part of their Old Particular range of single cask...  More info
$447.70
An 11 year old Bunnah from top independent bottlers Signatory. Matured in a single Sherry butt with an outrun of 665 bottled. Nice.  More info
$96.47
A Signatory bottling of Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky, distilled in 2001, left to mature in a refill butt and bottled in March 2014. It was released as part of the Signatory Un-Chillfiltered...  More info
$82.86
Known for their recent explosion of weird and wonderful releases, Bruichladdich are also good at just producing simple, spectacular single malt Scotch whisky, like this Berry Bros. & Rudd single cask...  More info
$183.58

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