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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 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
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Perhaps the best of all the Diageo Distillers Edition whiskies (a selection of their classic malts that are finished in wine casks). This delicious 1994 vintage Lagavulin was finished in Pedro Ximénez...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
This was distilled in March of 1997, and it was aged in refill hogshead 3538 for 10 years before bottling in May 2008 by Douglas Laing.  More info
A 9 year old Bowmore from that was bottled by Douglas Laing. This was selected for its flavour qualities that make it the perfect partner for a good cigar.  More info
A 23 year old Bunnahabhain aged in sherry butt 1282. This was distilled on the 20th October 1986 and bottled on the 21st July 2010. A release of 540 bottles.  More info
$162.62
2010's Special Release from the Caol Ila distillery. This unpeated version was bottled at cask strength, and it was aged for 12 years in first fill ex-bourbon casks.  More info
Distilled on the 13th November 1984 and aged for 25 years in hogshead number 5391 before bottling on the 11th July 2010 for the Bladnoch forum. A release of 212 bottles.  More info
This was distilled at Bowmore in 1998, and it was aged in refill sherry cask number 800017 before bottling by Adelphi.  More info
This is the 5th official release from Islay's smallest distillery and youngest distillery, Kilchoman. This was aged for 3 years in fresh bourbon barrels.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
A non wine finished Octomore, this was peated to 152 ppm and aged for 5 years. This is the peatiest Octomore yet!  More info
A 27 year old Port Ellen bottled under the Old Malt Cask label from Douglas Laing. It won't be around for ever, Port Ellen. And you'll miss it when it's gone so you will.  More info
A peaty, smoky 8 year old whisky, this Laphroaig was bottled for Douglas Laing's Ceramic Premier Barrel range. A release of 371 decanter bottles.  More info
A new addition of Bruichladdich Organic. This follows on from the 2003 edition, and there are only a couple of current production single malts that are certified organic. It is made with organic...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
Aged for a whopping 35 years, this cast strength Bunnahabhain from Adelphi offers oodles of character. It was bottled in 2010 as part of a release of just 157 bottles.  More info
Distilled in September 1996 and aged for 14 years in a refill hogshead before bottling for the Old Malt Cask range in September 2010 as part of a release of 329 bottles.  More info
A 9 year old Caol Ila, bottled for the Douglas Laing Provenance range. This was distilled in the Winter of 2000 and bottled in the Summer of 2010.  More info
The first NAS release from Bruichladdich's Port Charlotte Brand. A superb balance of peat and smoke. Retains the intensity of other Port Charlotte releases without compromise.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$57.31
Highly anticipated release from Diageo's now defunct Port Ellen distillery. In our humble opinion, perhaps not quite as good as last year's release, but nevertheless still quite special, and will sell...  More info
The 2010 Lagavulin Special Release from Diageo. This 12 year old is a vatting of refil American oak casks, and it marks the 9th in the series so far. Sweet and intense.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
17 year old Caol Ila distilled in March 1990 and aged in claret wine barrel number 4055 before bottling December 2007 for the Old Malt Cask range.  More info
A sherry cask Bowmore distilled in 1989. The cask was selected by Jim McEwan and it was bottled at the Bruichladdich distillery in 2010. This is part of a release of 479 bottles.  More info
Distilled in 1980 at Lagavulin, this is one of the tremendous Distiller's Editions finished in Pedro Ximénez casks. It's delicious - like peat smoke mixed with syrupy rich sherry.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$207.20
This was distilled at Lagavulin in 1987 and finished in Pedro Ximénez dessert sherry casks. Bottled in 2003, this stuff is fantastic. A glass of this goes astonishingly with a chocolate-based dessert.  More info
$165.91
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