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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 beautiful Laphroaig from the Un-Chillfiltered collection from Signatory, distilled on the 12th May 1998, aged in hogsheads 5562 and 5563 and bottled on the 30th May 2012. A release of 664 numbered...  More info
$70.67
An utterly fabulous on-going annual release of Lagavulin, from Diageo's Special Releases. 2011 sees this cask strength monster offering up oodles of complexity thanks to its maturation in refill...  More info
Bowmore Feis Ile 2013
(70cl, 56.50%)
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Bowmore’s festival bottling for Fèis Ìle 2013 was a bourbon matured release of just 1,000 bottles. It's cask strength, non chill-filtered and very yummy.  More info
$127.49
This Bunnahabhain was distilled in 1987 and bottled by Douglas Laing as part of their Old Malt Cask range after a 25 year maturation. It is bottled at 50%, or 'the Golden strength', without artificial...  More info
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A single cask Port Ellen from the Port Ellen distillery in the town of Port Ellen. This 30 year old single cask release was matured in a refill hogshead, which yielded just 94 precious bottles. Part...  More info
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Bunnahabhain's Fèis Ìle festival release is a delightfully sherried whisky bottled at 60.1% abv on 19th March 2013. Only 606 bottles were released, each hand signed by...  More info
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Caol Ila is Islay's biggest producer in terms of volume. By jingo it's good though. Oh yes.  More info
$51.03
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Kilchoman’s Fèis Ìle 2013 festival release is a vatting of two ex-bourbon casks (246 & 247). Only 500 bottles of this 5 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky were produced by...  More info
$255.03
Smoky, fleeting, and somewhat ethereal. Delicious single cask Bunnahabhain from Wemyss.  More info
$92.94
This is a single malt whisky bottled by Wemyss Malts. Wemyss originally dealt in wine, as such they are taking a vintner's approach to selecting whisky.

Wemyss name their single malt whiskies after...  More info
$90.92
A smoky single malt distilled at Bowmore in 1994 and bottled by BBR.  More info
$75.98
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
$81.93
This is a sherry cask Bunnahabhain bottled at a staggering thirty-seven years of age by Douglas Laing for their fantastic Old & Rare Collection. Bunnahabhains from the 1970s tend to be particularly...  More info
$337.16
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Bruichladdich's Fèis Ìle 2013 festival bottling was a tribute to Jim McEwan's impressive “50 years of whisky creation”. A vatting of various selected vintages, just 700...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$191.27
The second release from this distillery in the Elements of Islay range, Br2 carries on from the regular characteristics of the distillery with a fruity and honeyed dram.  More info
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Distilled on 28th March 1980 at Bunnahabhain on Islay, this single cask whisky from Signatory spent over 32 years in an ex-sherry cask before bottling on 5th December 2012 at natural cask strength.  More info
An 18 year old red wine finished Caol Ila from superb bottler Gordon & MacPhail.  More info
$92.79
A 24 year old single malt from the Caol Ila distillery on Islay and bottled in 2008 by the Vintage Whisky Co. as part of The Coopers Choice range.  More info
$307.78
A Mackillop's Choice Caol Ila 17 Year Old, distilled on 8 February 1990 and bottled in May 2007 at cask strength. It is, of course, non-chill filtered.  More info
This is the stunning Batch 3 of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's Ardbeg - it's a superb little whisky which flaunts the beautiful house style with more than a hint of sweet sherry too.

The label...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
This was distilled at the Bruichladdich distillery in October 1990 before a 21 year maturation in a single cask (refill sherry butt number 8837). It was bottled for the Directors Cut range in 2012...  More info
$157.01
Machir Bay is a gorgeous sherry-finished malt from Islay's newest distillery, Kilchoman. This was released in 2012 and is made up of 60% 3 year old, 35% 4 year old and 5% 5 year old whisky. All were...  More info
User Rating:  (5 Reviews)
$47.86
A cask strength 34 year old single malt from Bowmore. This was distilled in 1971 and matured in ex-sherry casks before bottling as part of an outturn of just 960 bottles. The colour is rich and dark...  More info
A sherry-matured 10 year old Bunnahabhain from Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range. This was distilled in December of 2001 and bottled in 2011 at the "preferred strength of 50%". Lovely stuff.  More info
$74.48
A beautiful cask-strength single malt from the Laphroaig distillery. This was distilled in October 1996 and aged for 15 years in a refill hogshead before bottling for the Director's Cut range in March...  More info

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