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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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Laphroaig 18 Year Old
(70cl, 48%)
The hotly anticipated Laphroaig eighteen year-old. This expression replaced the fifteen year-old and comes at a higher strength. This is a much more exclusive affair with a powerful punch. Awesome...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$129.60
Ardbeg Corryvreckan
(70cl, 57.10%)
Malt Advocate's Top Whisky of the Year for 2009!

This is one of the legendary Islay malts. We loved the Committee release and we weren't disappointed with this incredible dram. This was released to...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$95.71
Laphroaig Triple Wood
(70cl, 48%)
An incredible new release from Laphroaig. This was originally launched for the duty free market, and it is a tour de force from the Islay distillery. First off, they mature this in bourbon barrels...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$74.30
Ardbeg 10 Year Old
(70cl, 46%)
Jim Murray's 2008 World Whisky of the Year! When Ardbeg 10 was released it was the first expression from the distillery not to be chill-filtered. It's a true classic from Islay, and a must have for...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$58.71
The sixth edition of experimental Octomore, famous for being made with the most heavily peated barley on the planet. Bruichladdich are still able to impart a delicate, graceful emphasis within this...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$151.20
Ardbeg Uigeadail
(70cl, 54.20%)
Uigeadail derives from the Scotch Gaelic for 'Dark and Mysterious Place' and is named for the Loch from whence Ardbeg draws its waters. Jim Murray's 2009 World Whisky of the Year, this cask-strength...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$79.65
Lagavulin 16 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A much sought-after single malt with the massive peat-smoke that's typical of southern Islay - but also offering richness and a dryness that turns it into a truly interesting dram. The 16 year old has...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$76.91
This was distilled at Laphroaig in 1995, it was aged for 16 years in a single bourbon barrel, and it was bottled by Signatory in 2011. A release of 140 bottles.  More info
This was distilled at Laphroaig on the 1st July 1999. It was aged in two hogsheads for 11 years before bottling on the 2nd June 2011. A release of 715 bottles.  More info
What a very handsome and shiny wooden box this comes in. Behold it and marvel at its fine craftsmanship. The whisky contained within was distilled on the 15th September 1970 and aged for 40 years in...  More info
This was distilled at the Bunnahabhain distillery on the 19th September 1979, it was then aged for 31 years in a single refill sherry butt. It was bottled by Signatory on the 14th March 2011. A...  More info
$176.74
This was distilled at the Caol Ila distillery on the 8th November 2011 and aged for 27 years in hogshead 5283 before bottling on the 2nd February 2011. A release of 243 bottles.  More info
A 9 year old, single cask, cask strength Bunnahabhain. This was distilled on the 21st September 2001, it was aged in a first fill sherry butt, and was bottled on the 14th March 2011. A release of 583...  More info
$75.72
Distilled at Caol Ila on the 15th September 1999 and aged in two hogsheads before bottling on the 8th April 2011. A release of 926 bottles.  More info
$57.65
This Caol Ila was distilled on the 18th November 1999, and was aged in hogsheads before bottling on the 2nd June 2011. A release of 936 bottles from Signatory.  More info
$56.25
This cask strength, heavily peated Bunnahabhain was distilled on the 11th December 1997, and it was aged for 13 years in two hogsheads before bottling on the 16 May 2011. A release of 594 bottles.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$67.51
Distilled at Bunnahabhain from heavily peated malt, this is an unusual expression from a distillery known for its gentle, fruity malts. 13 years old, and made from a vatting of two hogsheads. Bottled...  More info
$73.00
A fabulous cask strength release from Caol Ila, this was bottled for the 2011 Feis Ile (Islay Festival). We first tried this in the cold and rain at Caol Ila's blustery distillery day. It was just...  More info
An incredible high strength Caol Ila, especially when considering the age! This was distilled in 1975, and was bottled for Diageo's Rare Malts series. These old Rare Malts are well worth a try, as you...  More info
A 30 year old Bowmore, packaged in a handsome opaque black ceramic decanter bottle, with a beautifully painted sea dragon on the bottle. It has a dragon on it, so you know it must be good.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$804.58
This was distilled at Bowmore in 2002, and it was initially aged in bourbon casks. It was then taken to Bruichladdich, where it was finished for a few years in Chateau Latour casks. A release of 2,100...  More info
$61.07
This was distilled at the Caol Ila distilled in 1990, and originally matured in bourbon casks. Then Murray McDavid took it to the Bruichladdich distillery, and reracked it into Chateau Haut Brion...  More info
A very rich, charactered 12 year old Bowmore, bottled by top bottlers, Alchemist. Very distinct, and uniquely Bowmore.  More info
$62.68
This Bowmore was aged in a sherry cask for 9 years. It was taken for additional maturation at the Bruichladdich warehouses, before bottling in 2009. A release of 1,600 bottles from Murray McDavid.  More info
$62.68
Aged for 3 years in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels, this is a wonderful expression from Kilchoman. This is made 100% on Islay, using nothing but local ingredients  More info
$96.38
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