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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.

Port Ellen - Batch 5 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

50cl, 47.1%
Port Ellen

It's here. Phone people. Write letters. Open up windows and shout at things. Let the things know that it's here. But what is it? Batch 5 of Port Ellen single malt Scotch whisky, bottled by That…  More info

Port Ellen - Batch 5 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
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A Thread of Smoke 1991 - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

This 1991 vintage Bunnahabhain was matured in a single hogshead, from 1991 to 2014, before it was bottled by Wemyss. It was bottled with an outturn of 302 bottles and given the rather poetic name A…  More info

A Thread of Smoke 1991 - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)
$96.63

Bowmore Tempest 10 Year Old - Batch 2

70cl, 56%
Bowmore

The second release of Bowmore's cask strength Tempest. This is aged for 10 years in first fill bourbon casks in the Number 1 vaults at Bowmore, which are literally at the edge of Loch Indaal.  More info

Bowmore Tempest 10 Year Old - Batch 2
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$57.07

Port Ellen 35 Year Old 1978 - 14th Release (2014 Special Release)

70cl, 56.5%
Port Ellen

Strictly 1 Per Customer Part of the 2014 Diageo Special Releases, this 35 year old Port Ellen single malt Scotch whisky was matured in a combination of refill American oak and European oak casks.…  More info

Port Ellen 35 Year Old 1978 - 14th Release (2014 Special Release)
$2,510.13

Kirsch Gâteau 1988 (bottled 2014) - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)

70cl, 56%
Bunnahabhain

Rich, decadent and fruit-laden are the words that spring to mind when someone mentions Kirsch Gâteau, which might be why Wemyss Malts decided to call this 1988 vintage Bunnahabhain 'Kirsch Gâteau'.…  More info

Kirsch Gâteau 1988 (bottled 2014) - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)
$115.28

Bunnahabhain 2004 - The MacPhail's Collection (Gordon and MacPhail)

70cl, 43%
Bunnahabhain

Distilled in 2004 and bottled in 2013 by Gordon and MacPhail for The MacPhail's Collection, this is a rather tempting sherry matured Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky.  More info

Bunnahabhain 2004 - The MacPhail's Collection (Gordon and MacPhail)

Bunnahabhain 1988 (bottled 2014) (cask 1873) - Artist 3rd Edition (La Maison du Whisky)

70cl, 49.2%
Bunnahabhain

A La Maison du Whisky bottling of Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky, release as part of their Artist 3rd edition range. It was distilled in 1988 and matured in a single hogshead cask for over 25…  More info

Bunnahabhain 1988 (bottled 2014) (cask 1873) - Artist 3rd Edition (La Maison du Whisky)

Caol Ila 18 Year Old 1996 (cask 10874) - Old Malt Cask (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 50%
Caol Ila

Hunter Laing's Old Malt Cask range continues with an 18 year old Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a refill butt from September 1996 to September 2014. A wonderful coastal dram, with…  More info

Caol Ila 18 Year Old 1996 (cask 10874) - Old Malt Cask (Hunter Laing)

Laphroaig 8 Year Old 2005 (cask 10406) - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 46%
Laphroaig

8 year old Laphroaig single malt, distilled on the isle of Islay in the autumn of 2005 and matured in a single hogshead until summer 2014. It was bottled as part of Douglas Laing's Provenance range,…  More info

Laphroaig 8 Year Old 2005 (cask 10406) - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

Br4 - Elements of Islay (Bruichladdich)

50cl, 54.7%
Bruichladdich

This is the fourth Islay whisky bottled from a distillery on the island whose name begins with Br...  More info

Br4 - Elements of Islay (Bruichladdich)
$57.01

Port Charlotte 9 Year Old 2004 (cask 1034) - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

From the Bruichladdich distillery comes a peated single malt released under the Port Charlotte name. It was distilled in 2004 and matured in butt #1034 for 9 years, before being bottled for the…  More info

Port Charlotte 9 Year Old 2004 (cask 1034) - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)
$68.87

Bowmore Dawn

70cl, 51.5%
Bowmore

A wonderful port cask finished whisky from Bowmore, this received an incredibly impressive 94 points in the Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2008.  More info

Bowmore Dawn

Bn6 - Elements of Islay (Bunnahabhain)

50cl, 56.9%
Bunnahabhain

An Elements of Islay bottling of single malt from the mysterious "Bn" distillery. Well, not too mysterious, we're sure you can figure out which one it came from. This is the sixth bottling of Bn…  More info

Bn6 - Elements of Islay (Bunnahabhain)
$52.35

Bruichladdich 32 Year Old 1977 - DNA (2nd Edition)

70cl, 47.4%
Bruichladdich

The second edition of Bruichladdich's DNA series was this 32 year old single malt Scotch whisky, distilled all the way back in 1977 and left to mature in American oak bourbon casks. What a sight!  More info

Bruichladdich 32 Year Old 1977 - DNA (2nd Edition)
$330.45

Bunnahabhain 16 Year Old 1998 (cask 10433) - Old Particular (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 48.4%
Bunnahabhain

16 year old single malt from the Bunnahabhain distillery on Islay, bottled by the fabulous folk at Douglas Laing. It was distilled in April 1998 and aged in a single refill hogshead for 16 long…  More info

Bunnahabhain 16 Year Old 1998 (cask 10433) - Old Particular (Douglas Laing)

The Bosun's Dram 1997 - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

A Bosun (also known as a Boatswain) is a senior member of a ship's deck department. To use a simile us landlubbers might understand, they're a bit like managers or supervisors in shops - high up for…  More info

The Bosun's Dram 1997 - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)
$79.40

Bruichladdich 17 Year Old 1992

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

A 17 year old Bruichladdich single malt Scotch whisky, distilled all the way back in 1992 and matured in a Brunello wine cask. It was produced in honour of the centenary of T. B. Watson LTD., which…  More info

Bruichladdich 17 Year Old 1992
$162.94

Ardbeg Blasda

70cl, 40%
Ardbeg

Blasda represents a rare chance to sample a lightly-peated dram from the powerhouse Ardbeg distillery. The malt is peated at 8ppm as opposed to the standard 24ppm.  More info

Ardbeg Blasda
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Caol Ila 30 Year Old 1983 (cask 405033) - The Duncan Taylor Single

70cl, 52.9%
Caol Ila

30 year old Caol Ila single malt, bottled for the Duncan Taylor Single collection. This Sherried Islay dram has matured from May 1983 to February 2014, when it was bottled with an outturn of just 66…  More info

Caol Ila 30 Year Old 1983 (cask 405033) - The Duncan Taylor Single

Laphroaig 17 Year Old 1997 (cask 3353) - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 55.6%
Laphroaig

Single cask, single malt Scotch whisky from the Laphroaig distillery on Islay, bottled by Signatory for the Cask Strength Collection. This Islay whisky was matured in a refill Sherry hogshead from…  More info

Laphroaig 17 Year Old 1997 (cask 3353) - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

Oysters with Lemon Pearls 1991 - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

Independently bottled Bunnahabhain single malt, matured in a single hogshead cask from 1991 to 2014. As with all wonderful Wemyss bottlings, it's got a yummy descriptive name, and this one goes by…  More info

Oysters with Lemon Pearls 1991 - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)
$102.39

Bruichladdich 21 Year Old 1992 (cask 3987) - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 49.7%
Bruichladdich

21 year old single malt Scotch whisky from the Bruichladdich distillery on Islay, bottled by Duncan Taylor. This is a single cask release from the Dimensions range, made to show off the…  More info

Bruichladdich 21 Year Old 1992 (cask 3987) - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

Bunnahabhain 24 Year Old 1989 (cask 5685) - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 47%
Bunnahabhain

This single cask Bunnahabhain was distilled in October 1989 and left to mature for 24 years, all the way until April 2014, when the cask was cracked open and the whisky was bottled up by Duncan…  More info

Bunnahabhain 24 Year Old  1989 (cask 5685) - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

Laphroaig 14 Year Old 2000 (cask 10809) - Old Malt Cask (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 50%
Laphroaig

An indie bottling of Islay single malt Scotch whisky from the Laphroaig distillery, bottled by Hunter Laing. It was drawn from a single refill hogshead cask (#10809), which was filled in July 2000…  More info

Laphroaig 14 Year Old 2000 (cask 10809) -  Old Malt Cask (Hunter Laing)

Smoke On The Water 1982 - Wemyss Malts (Caol Ila)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

This delightfully smoky Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky was bottled by the top chaps at Wemyss. It was distilled in 1982 and left to mature in a single hogshead until 2014, when it was bottled…  More info

Smoke On The Water 1982 - Wemyss Malts (Caol Ila)
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$124.95

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