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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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An unpeated variant of Caol Ila, this is aged for 8 years, and bottled at a staggering 64.9% abv!  More info
From the Bowmore distillery, smack bang in the middle of Islay. This single cask whisky was bottled for the Coopers Choice range.  More info
Perhaps the best of all the Diageo Distillers Edition whiskies (a selection of their classic malts that are finished in wine casks). This delicious 1994 vintage Lagavulin was finished in Pedro Ximénez...  More info
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Ardbeg Very Young
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The first part in the Young series from Ardbeg, tracking the development of Ardbeg whisky, aged for just a few years, all the way up to the standard Ardbeg at 10 years old. Very interesting indeed...  More info
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This is the second batch of Elements of Islay bottled Ar (who knows which Islay distillery Ar could refer to?!) Serge from WhiskyFun.com awarded this 90 points! This is a cask strength single malt...  More info
A fabulously rich, darkly hued sherry cask Bunnahabhain, distilled in 1979 and aged in cask 1795 before bottling by Berry Brothers and Rudd in 2011.  More info
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This was distilled at Laphroaig on the 1st July 1999. It was aged in two hogsheads for 11 years before bottling on the 2nd June 2011. A release of 715 bottles.  More info
Once upon a time at the Glenmorangie bottling plant, very well-aged Ardbeg was accidentally mixed with some young Glen Moray, oops! The result is this rare bottle with a great story behind it, the...  More info
This cask strength, heavily peated Bunnahabhain was distilled on the 11th December 1997, and it was aged for 13 years in two hogsheads before bottling on the 16 May 2011. A release of 594 bottles.  More info
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A 13 year old Caol Ila, distilled in October 1996 and aged in casks 91971 and 91974, this was given a finish in Sauternes dessert wine casks before bottling in March 2010. One of just a handful of...  More info
This was distilled at Laphroaig in 1997, and it was initially matured in bourbon barrels. Murray McDavid then selected it, and took it to Bruichladdich, where it was reracked into incredible Chateau...  More info
A non wine finished Octomore, this was peated to 152 ppm and aged for 5 years. This is the peatiest Octomore yet!  More info
A 15 year old from Scotland's most innovative distillery, Bruichladdich. This was bottled for the new range from Alchemist.  More info
This was distilled at Bowmore in 1998, and it was aged in refill sherry cask number 800017 before bottling by Adelphi.  More info
Part ten in the Golf themed Links series from Bruichladdich. Each bottle is made up of whisky from casks specially selected by Jim McEwan, the Laddie master distiller. This 15 year old features a golf...  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
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Distilled in Laphroaig in November 1990, aged in refill hogshead for 16 years and bottled in December 2006 for Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range. A release of 295 bottles.  More info
A single cask, 33 year old, cask strength Bunnahabhain distilled in 1976. Bottled for Murray McDavid's Mission range. Fantastic whisky, aged in fino sherry casks!  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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Smoky and rich, this is a full-bodied, powerful Caol Ila with notes of Latakia. Distilled in 1980 and bottled in 2011 by Berry Brothers and Rudd. Cask 4938.  More info
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A 30 year old Bowmore, packaged in a handsome opaque black ceramic decanter bottle, with a beautifully painted sea dragon on the bottle. It has a dragon on it, so you know it must be good.  More info
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25 year old Bowmore, this was distilled on the 22nd November 1985, and aged in a single bourbon barrel (number 32212) before bottling on the 24th November 2010. A release of 279 numbered bottles at...  More info
A 9 year old, single cask, cask strength Bunnahabhain. This was distilled on the 21st September 2001, it was aged in a first fill sherry butt, and was bottled on the 14th March 2011. A release of 583...  More info
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Distilled at Caol Ila on the 13th November 1984, this was aged for 25 years in hogshead 5390 before bottling on the 8th July 2010 for the Bladnoch distillery forum. Natural cask strength and no added...  More info
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A 27 year old Port Ellen from a single cask! This was distilled in the Winter 1983 and aged in cask 6000 (a refill hogshead) before bottling in Spring 2010 for the Provenance range.  More info

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