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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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Master of Malt Single Cask Whisky
A very rare 42 year old from the Islay distillery, Bowmore. This single malt has been matured in Oloroso sherry casks and is part of a limited release of just 827 bottles. A legendary dram.  More info
This cask strength, single cask Bowmore was distilled on the 22nd November 1985, and it was aged in hogshead 32211 for 25 years before bottling by Signatory on the 16th June 2011. A release of 257...  More info
$169.69
1997 vintage Caol Ila, bottled as part of Diageo's superb Distillers Edition range. This was finished in Moscatel wine casks, and the result is a nuttier, fruitier whisky. Well worth a try.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$79.71
A special limited release bottling from Bunnahabhain. There are just 3,792 bottles of this cask strength, Manzanilla finished Bunnahabhain.  More info
An 18 year old red wine finished Caol Ila from superb bottler Gordon & MacPhail.  More info
$123.51
A rare bottle of Ardbeg, bottled by the Silver Seal company. This commemorates the Hillary and Norgay summiting Mount Everest on the 29th May 1953. This was distilled in 1978 and packaged in a silver...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This was distilled at the Laphroaig distillery in February 2001 and aged for 11 years in a refill hogshead before bottling in April of 2012. This was a release of 289 bottles from Douglas Laing's Old...  More info
$118.22
Smoky, fleeting, and somewhat ethereal. Delicious single cask Bunnahabhain from Wemyss.  More info
$123.70
A 28 year old Caol Ila bottled in 2012 by Adelphi, and one of 250 bottles matured in a refill bourbon hogshead.  More info
$245.50
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
$60.81
This Bowmore was distilled in October of 1982 and was aged for 29 years in cask 85212 before bottling by Duncan Taylor in October 2011. A cask strength release of 218 numbered bottles.  More info
Matured largely in American oak, with a little Spanish oak. An increasingly rare first edition, the 15 year old is a great, fresh, lightly-peated offering from Bruichladdich.  More info
30 Year Old Bunnahabhain distilled in December 1978 and matured for 30 years in refill butt number 5120 before bottling by Douglas Laing in April 2009. Part of an outturn of 566 bottles.  More info
A sherry-butt-matured Bunnahabhain distilled in Autumn 2001 and aged for 9 years before bottling in Spring 2011. A delicious single cask whisky from the Provenance range.  More info
$81.41
This is a wonderfully rich, sherry-matured Bruichladdich from Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range. It was distilled in February 1992 before a 20 year maturation in a single refill sherry butt. Bottled...  More info
$152.15
This was distilled at Laphroaig on the 13th September 2001 and matured in hogsheads 2922 and 2923 for 8 years before bottling on the 15th December 2009. A release of 839 bottles from Signatory's...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Just 12,990 bottles were released, this Caol Ila 8 year old proffers the chance to sample an unpeated malt from the distillery, matured in first fill bourbon casks. There is spice and fruit with a...  More info
Matured in hogsheads 83 and 84 for 19 years. This is a Signatory bottling from the Bruichladdich distillery, distilled on the 2nd November 1989 and bottling on the 26th August 2009. A release of 679...  More info
Ardbeg Corryvreckan, this is a the Committee Reserve bottling, released in 2008 to great critical acclaim.  More info
27 year old Port Ellen distilled in 1982. This is rare whisky, aged in Bourbon casks and finished in ChÔteau D'Yquem sauternes barrels. This was bottled at the Bruichladdich distillery in 2009, and is...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
A 13 year old Bowmore distilled in May 1997 and aged in a single refill hogshead before bottling by Douglas Laing in February 2011. This comes from the Old Malt Cask range, and there are just 297...  More info
$109.05
This was distilled at Bunnahabhain on the 25th May 1992, and it was aged in sherry butt 1691 for 19 years before bottling on the 17th October 2011 for the Carn Mor range. A release of 587 numbered...  More info
$169.69
This fifteen year old Caol Ila has been bottled by Signatory without chill filtration and is a deliciously peaty Islay single malt!  More info
$69.63
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
$170.49
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
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