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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.

Bowmore 35 Year Old 1970 - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)

70cl, 51.30%
Bowmore

An absolutely stunningly packaged Bowmore distilled on the 24th September 1970, aged in sherry butt 4687 and bottled at natural cask strength for Signatory's Cask Strength Collection on the 15th June…  More info

Bowmore 35 Year Old 1970 - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)

Wemyss Sandy Seaweed 1997 (Bunnahabhain)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

This is single malt whisky from Wemyss Malts is so named because it has a sandy seaweed like flavour.  More info

Wemyss Sandy Seaweed 1997 (Bunnahabhain)
$87.32

Bunnahabhain 22 Year Old 1988 - Rare Auld (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 53.60%
Bunnahabhain

This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in September 1988, it was aged for 22 years in cask 2356 before bottling by Duncan Taylor's Rare Auld series in August of 2011. A cask strength release of 237…  More info

Bunnahabhain 22 Year Old 1988 - Rare Auld (Duncan Taylor)

Bunnahabhain 9 Years Old 2001 Sherrywood - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

This is a nine year old whisky from the Islay distillery of Bunnahabhain. This single malt has been aged in ex-Sherry casks for a deeper and richer flavour.  More info

Bunnahabhain 9 Years Old 2001 Sherrywood - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)
$54.33

Lagavulin 21 Year Old 1991 (2012 Special Release)

70cl, 52%
Lagavulin

The original Lagavulin 21 Year Old has achieved legendary status in the whisky world so I was frothing at the bit to try this 52%abv Lagavulin bottled from first-fill ex-sherry casks. This is a…  More info

Lagavulin 21 Year Old 1991 (2012 Special Release)
1

The John Milroy 21 Year Old Islay (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 45%
Bowmore

A single-cask bottling of Bowmore named for John Milroy.  More info

The John Milroy 21 Year Old Islay (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$91.26

Caol Ila 14 Year Old 1997 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

This is a fourteen year old Caol Ila bottled without chill-filtration by Signatory to maintain flavour and texture.  More info

Caol Ila 14 Year Old 1997 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)
$50.23

Bowmore 9 Year Old 1999 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

A 9 year old Bowmore from Douglas Laing's Provenance range. This whisky was distilled in Summer 1999 and bottled in 2009 after maturation in a single refill hogshead.  More info

Bowmore 9 Year Old 1999 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)
$54.57

Caol Ila 1983 (cask 4825) (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 54.90%
Caol Ila

From Berry's whisky selection comes this single cask Caol Ila distilled in 1983 and aged for 28 years in cask 4825 before bottling in 2011.  More info

Caol Ila 1983 (cask 4825) (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$148.62

Bowmore 11 Year Old 2000 (Boisdale Collection)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

This Bowmore was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd for the Boisdale chain of Scottish bars and restaurants. It is bottled at 46%abv without chill filtration.  More info

Bowmore 11 Year Old 2000 (Boisdale Collection)
$53.27

Ardbeg 1998 Single Cask 1275

70cl, 55.40%
Ardbeg

An astonishing 11 year old single cask from Ardbeg - stunning in flavour and very, very rare. This was distilled in 1998 and aged in cask 1275 (a first fill bourbon barrel) before bottling in 2009 -…  More info

Ardbeg 1998 Single Cask 1275
$631.59

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée A: Pauillac (Chateau Lafite) 16 Year Old

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich, in true fashion, rather boldly released a range of six whiskies, finished in casks from First Growth French vineyards. This Cuvee A bottling was finished in Pauillac Casks from Chateau…  More info

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée A: Pauillac (Chateau Lafite) 16 Year Old

Bruichladdich 15 Year Old (2nd Edition)

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

The progressive Hebridean distillers at Bruichladdich on the storm swept island of Islay have released their second edition of their fifteen year old whisky finished in Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes…  More info

Bruichladdich 15 Year Old (2nd Edition)

Kilchoman 5 Year Old 2006

70cl, 46%
Kilchoman

A five year old release from Kilchoman, distilled in 2006. This is actually the first ever whisky of this age from the distillery, 80% aged in first fill bourbon and 20% in refill bourbon. A limited…  More info

Kilchoman 5 Year Old 2006
2
$59.36

Bowmore 1999 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 56.40%
Bowmore

Vintage Bowmore from 1999, bottled at Cask strength by Berry Brothers and Rudd.  More info

Bowmore 1999 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$61.18

Bowmore MacBeatha - 4th Edition

70cl, 60.30%
Bowmore

A Bowmore from Kilchoman? Sort of... Kilchoman uses the MacBeatha name to market their single cask bottlings from other Islay distilleries. This is the fourth edition in the range, a single cask…  More info

Bowmore MacBeatha - 4th Edition
$106.58

Bruichladdich Waves

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

A 2008 release from the Bruichladdich distillery and a light single malt. The name Waves suggests the notes of crisp, fresh fruits and a touch of light spice with a touch of typical 'Laddie coastal…  More info

Bruichladdich Waves
12
$36.99

Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old 1986 - The Octave (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 53.30%
Bunnahabhain

A beautiful cask-strength Bunnahabhain, distilled in 1986 and aged in standard casks before a finish in small "Octave" casks which give additional spice and complexity.  More info

Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old 1986 - The Octave (Duncan Taylor)
$141.32

Caol Ila "Young & Feisty" - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

A small batch bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, aged for just a few years in a pair of refill hogsheads. This was bottled in Winter 2012 by Douglas Laing, who declare it to be "young and feisty"!  More info

Caol Ila
$60.42

Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2009 Release)

70cl, 57.90%
Lagavulin

The hotly anticipated 2009 release of the cask-strength Lagavulin 12 year-old. Undoubtedly one of the best cask-strength whiskies.  More info

Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2009 Release)
5
$244.94

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée B: Pauillac (Chateau Latour) 16 Year Old

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

A great Bruichladdich, this is part of their range of first growth Bordeaux finished whiskies. This is the second, Cuvée B, which was finished in Pauillac Casks from Chateau Latour!  More info

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée B: Pauillac (Chateau Latour) 16 Year Old

Port Ellen - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

50cl, 48.20%
Port Ellen

This whisky is from the long-since closed distillery of Port Ellen and despite a whole bunch of distilleries sadly closing in the early 1980s Port Ellen remains one of the most highly regarded.…  More info

Port Ellen - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
1

Lagavulin Feis Ile 2012

70cl, 55.10%
Lagavulin

Lagavulin's incredible 2012 Feis Ile release, a real favourite here with lots to discover.  More info

Lagavulin Feis Ile 2012
$367.45

Bowmore 14 Year Old 1997 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory

70cl, 58.30%
Bowmore

Mmm… A delicious 14 year old Bowmore distilled on the 13th June 1997 and aged in hogshead 1904 before bottling on the 29th March 2012. A release of 316 numbered bottles from Signatory's Cask Strength…  More info

Bowmore 14 Year Old 1997 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory
$86.81

Wemyss Smokehouse 1996 (Caol Ila)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

A very peaty Caol Ila from Wemyss Malts, who favour evocative names for their releases, this being no exception. Smokiness abounds and this is a great dram for those in search of phenolic excellence.  More info

Wemyss Smokehouse 1996 (Caol Ila)
$66.64

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