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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 in the Lg range of Elements. An interesting alternative to the distillery's standard bottling.  More info
$81.75
The penultimate part in the Young series from Ardbeg, spanning the development of Ardbeg, from Very Young, all the way up to 10 years. This was distilled in 1998, and offers lots of complexity and a...  More info
$164.48
Cask strength Bowmore, this was distilled in 1991, and aged solely in port pipes. A release of 18,000 bottles.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Distilled in 2001, this is a 9 year old Caol Ila, bottled at natural cask strength by Adelphi.  More info
An intense 31 year old single cask Bunnahabhain. This was distilled in 1979 and it was bottled at natural cask strength by Adelphi.  More info
An unpeated variant of Caol Ila, this is aged for 8 years, and bottled at a staggering 64.9% abv!  More info
Bottled for the Boisdale Bar and Restaurant, this was distilled at Laphroaig in 1998, and aged in hogshead number 700218 before bottling in 2011. Selected by Doug McIvor.  More info
$88.01
Distilled at Caol Ila in 1983 and bottled in 2011 at cask strength by Berry Brothers and Rudd.  More info
$132.89
25 year old Bowmore, this was distilled on the 22nd November 1985, and aged in a single bourbon barrel (number 32212) before bottling on the 24th November 2010. A release of 279 numbered bottles at...  More info
Batch three of Laphroaig's new cask strength 10 year old. This is a stunning whisky with oodles (literally oodles) of complexity and flavour.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
A 27 year old Port Ellen from a single cask! This was distilled in the Winter 1983 and aged in cask 6000 (a refill hogshead) before bottling in Spring 2010 for the Provenance range.  More info
Distilled in Laphroaig in November 1990, aged in refill hogshead for 16 years and bottled in December 2006 for Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range. A release of 295 bottles.  More info
A 26 year old from perhaps Islay's most legendary distillery, Port Ellen. This was distilled in Spring 1983 (just a few months before the distillery was shut down permenantly), and it was aged in...  More info
A stunning Ardbeg, the likes of which have never been seen before. This was distilled in March 1991, and bottled in October 2008. There are just 316 bottles, at the strength of 50% (for added...  More info
This stunning Port Ellen was distilled on the 2nd of February 1983 (just a few months before the distillery closed for good) and was aged in wine treated butt number 231 for 27 years before bottling...  More info
Smooth and well balanced 17 year old Bowmore from Cadenhead's Duthies range. A release of just 573 bottles.  More info
A fabulous cask strength Port Ellen aged in a single refill butt (cask 517) for a whopping 27 years. Bottling on the 28th September 2010 by Signatory. A release of 608 bottles.  More info
A 10 year old single cask Laphroaig distilled on the 18th September 2000 and aged in refill butt 4070 before bottling on the 5th November 2010. A release of just 835 bottles.  More info
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An oily, smoky caol ils distilled in December 1984 and aged in hogshead 6256 for 25 years before bottling in September 2010. A release of 194 bottles at natural cask strength.  More info
Distilled on the 11th December 1997 and aged in two hogsheads (numbers 5501 and 5550 ) for 13 years before bottling on the 13th December 2010. A release of 588 bottles of cask strength, heavily peated...  More info
Distilled at Bowmore on the 19th April 1994 and aged in two hogsheads before bottling by Signatory on the 12th October 2010. A release of 742 bottles.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$70.76
Aged in bourbon and finished in first growth Sauternes casks from Chateau Climens. This was bottled as a release of 1,189 bottles at the Bruichladdich distillery. At natural cask strength.  More info
$143.22
Aged in bourbon casks and finished in port pipes, this Bunnahabhain was distilled in 1997 and bottled at the Bruichladdich in 2008. A release of 1,900 bottles.  More info
A single cask, 33 year old, cask strength Bunnahabhain distilled in 1976. Bottled for Murray McDavid's Mission range. Fantastic whisky, aged in fino sherry casks!  More info
A well-aged Laphroaig from indpendent bottler Douglas Laing. Released at a pretty hefty 50% abv, the outturn of this cask was only 150 bottles.  More info
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