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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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17 year old from the Alchemist range. This was distilled at the Bruichladdich distillery - so we're expecting lots of fruity, coastal flavour.  More info
£61.01
An elegant, fresh, berry fruit-rich Bunnahabhain. This was distilled in Autumn 1998 and aged in hogshead number 5812 for 11 years before bottling in Winter 2010.  More info
A cask strength Bunnahabhain from Murray McDavid. This was distilled in 1978 and aged for 30 years in a mix of port and sherry casks before bottling as part of a release of 573 bottles.  More info
This was distilled from heavily peated malt (unusual for a Bunnahabhain) on the 8th December 1997 and was aged for 12 years in hogsheads 5342 and 5484 before bottling on the 23rd June 2010 as part of...  More info
Sure to sell out quickly, Kilchoman's Summer 2010 Release marks another excellent addition to the new Islay distillery's already sterling back catalogue. This is release number 4, aged in fresh...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
A 9 year old Laphroaig from the Douglas Laing Provenance range. This was distilled in Winter 2001, aged in refill hogshead number 6421 and bottled in Summer 2010.  More info
Very exciting to see a Laphroaig of this age, particularly one at natural cask strength! This was distilled in March 1989 and aged for 21 years in a refill sherry hogshead before it was bottled for...  More info
Batch 2 of the excellent cask strength Laphroaig 10. This was bottled in January 2010 and it's incredible; full of classic Laphroaig flavour, cranked up to 11…  More info
This 19 year old, single cask Laphroaig was distilled on the 22nd October 1990 and aged in bourbon barrel number 89 before bottling on the 21st June 2010. A release of 246 decanters.  More info
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Distilled at Caol Ila in 1984 and aged for 23 years in cask number 6262 before bottling by Adelphi in 2008 as part of a release of 232 cask strength bottles.  More info
This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1968 and aged for 41 years in European oak butts 12401 and 12403 before bottling by Adelphi in 2008. The result is thick, viscous and very dark whisky...  More info
An incredibly rare Bowmore, bottled by the Whisky Connoisseurs. Largiemeanoch is very, very hard to come by. Distilled on the 17th February 1972, and aged in cask 906. This was bottled at "100.2...  More info
£331.95
Bowmore Tempest arrived amidst masses of anticipation. It was a limited release. This is the even more limited, and rather rare, 2010 Feis Ile edition.  More info
£129.86
A single cask from Signatory. This is the next cask after the excellent previous edition (cask 3636). This was distilled on the 16th May 1984 and aged for 25 years in cask 3637 (a hogshead) before...  More info
Superbly smoky malt, Lagavulin 16 is a Scotch legend in its own right. This presentation set features a bottle of the 16 year old with two Lagavulin branded Glencairn whisky tasting glasses.  More info
This incredible Bowmore was aged for a whopping 40 years. When you think that 40 year old Bowmores regularly command prices of upwards of several thousand pounds you know this is an amazing bargain!  More info
Aged for an incredible 40 years this is a serious whisky from Duncan Taylor. Distilled at the Bunnahabhain distillery in 1968 (the same year LL Cool J was born), this was bottled as part of the...  More info
A limited edition, cask strength single cask from Duncan Taylor. This was distilled at Caol Ila in December 1984, and aged for 25 years in cask 6270 before bottling in May 2010 as part of a release of...  More info
A rare and very handsome Bowmore, distilled in November of 1987 and aged for 22 years before bottling in April 2010. This was finished in a sherry hogshead which bore 244 bottles of cask strength...  More info
A 1989 vintage from the Bruichladdich distillery and a very unusual whisky indeed; this was aged for 18 years in bourbon casks, before a finish in Kosher wine casks from the Carmel winery in Israel...  More info
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A 14 year old Bunnahabhain aged in Medoc barrels (casks 90281 and 90282) before bottling in 2009 as part of a release of 516 bottles.  More info
14 year old Bruichladdich, this was aged for 14 years in bourbon casks before being finished in Kosher wine casks from the Carmel winery in Israel.  More info
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£38.35
12 year old Bowmore from Duncan Taylor's NC2 range of Non-Chillfiltered, Non Caramel Coloured whisky. This was distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2010.  More info
A 34 year old Bunnahabhain selected by Jim McEwan (Master Distiller at Bruichladdich). The Celtic Heartlands range exhibits Jim's incredible originality when it comes to Scotch whisky, and this 1973...  More info
12 year old single malt from a secret Islay distillery, the Ileach series is very well-rated by critics and whisky connoisseurs alike, great stuff!  More info
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