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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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FEW Spirits
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)
$68.51
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
$138.66
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
36 Year Old Bunnahabhain distilled in 1974. Early 70's Bunnahabhains are becoming something of a rarity, and releases from independent bottlers will grow more and more scarce over the coming years...  More info
Matured in a Sherry Butt for 23 years, this single-cask whisky is part of an outturn of only 218 bottles.  More info
A single cask, cask strength Caol Ila aged for a whopping 30 years. Chosen by Bruichladdich's Jim McEwan and bottled as part of his Celtic Heartland's range.  More info
A cask strength 41 year old Bunnahabhain from Bruichladdich's Master Distiller Jim McEwan who chose this for his prestigious Celtic Heartlands range.  More info
Aged for a whopping 33 years, this is a single cask, cask strength Bunnahabhain from Master Distiller Jim McEwan's Celtic Heartlands range.  More info
Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old
(70cl, 45.40%)
A super-limited release from Bunnahabhain in a very fetching 30 year old salmon-pink presentation case. Complete with a scroll of authenticity and a silver Quaich.  More info
The second release of Bruichladdich's Black Art whisky 'Matured in the Stygian* darkness of Warehouse number 12'. *relating to the river Styx. (no? us neither. We reckon someone's been at an online...  More info
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Smoky, rich Laphroaig from BBR, distilled 1998 and bottled 2010.  More info
$88.40
A 25 year old Caol Ila bottled for Berry's Own Selection. This was distilled in 1984 and bottled at cask strength.  More info
$146.88
This Bunnahabhain was distilled in 1997 and bottled for BRR's award-winning Berry's Own Selection.  More info
$87.52
Vintage Bowmore from 1999, bottled at Cask strength by Berry Brothers and Rudd.  More info
$80.37
A smoky single malt distilled at Bowmore in 1994 and bottled by BBR.  More info
$95.87
A single-cask bottling of Islay's Bowmore bottled with the approval of Whisky Legend John Milroy.  More info
$127.49
A single-cask bottling of Bowmore named for John Milroy.  More info
$119.90
A stark contrast to the older releases of Bunnahabhain from Adelphi, this superb 9yo showcases younger Islay Malt in a cracking way. Well worth a try if only to experience for yourself the...  More info
One of 306 bottles yielded at 54.7% ABV. The younger bowmores from Adelphi are a stark contrast to the distillery's own younger releases, and stand up well to the (very impressive) Tempest releases.  More info
An unbelievably good single cask Caol Ila that was so good we put our name on it! This was distilled in 1980 and aged in a single refill hogshead before bottling in 2010. A release of just 154 bottles...  More info
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