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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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The Distillers Editions from Islay distillers Lagavulin are scrummy little numbers indeed, combining the powerful peatiness their expressions are known for, with the sweet sticky notes of Pedro...  More info
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$128.84
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
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$84.07
It's not every day you see unpeated Caol Ila, but it's part of Diageo's Special Releases for a reason - it's a bit special, it is. Released for the 2014 collection of Special Releases, this edition...  More info
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$114.19
Lorne Mackillop chooses the expressions that become part of the Mackillop's Choice range, and they're all absolutely top notch drams. Distilled at the Islay distillery in 1990, this Caol Ila has been...  More info
$243.12
Islay whiskies are very popular these days, and with bottles like this 23 year old Caol Ila being incredibly tasty, we're not surprised! This bottling comes from Montgomerie's Rare Select collection.  More info
$215.44
The Bowmore 12 Year Old single malt Scotch whisky - sure to have been a wonderful introduction to the coastal, peated whisky of Islay to many a whisky fan. Gentle but distinct peaty notes waft in...  More info
$49.34
Bw3 is the third instalment of Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky for Speciality Drinks' Elements of Islay range. It doesn't take a scientist to know that this should be some tasty independently...  More info
$92.56
From one of the excellent distilleries on the Island of Islay comes this edition of Mackillop's Choice. Give a warm welcome to the Bowmore 1990, which was distilled in April 1990 and bottled in July...  More info
$255.53
Ooh, an indie Bruichladdich! And bottled at cask strength, no less. Very exciting stuff from Gordon & MacPahil. This Islay single malt was distilled in October 1991 and matured in refill Sherry...  More info
$163.01
A Hunter Laing bottling of single malt Scotch whisky from one of the most renowned closed distilleries in Scotland - Port Ellen. Distilled at the Islay distillery in September 1978 and aged in a...  More info
$1995.33
Released as part of the Tantalus collection, this is an incredible 31 year old Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky which has been bottled by Duncan Taylor. As with all Tantalus releases, it comes with a...  More info
$2099.52
Distilled in 1974 and bottled in November 1997, just after the Ardbeg distillery was bought by Glenmorangie, the Ardbeg Provenance is a legendary bottling of 23 year old single malt Scotch whisky...  More info
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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
$77.12
From one of Islay's most inventive distilleries, Bruichladdich, comes this 21 year old single malt - by way of Douglas Laing's Old Particular range. It was matured in a single refill hogshead from May...  More info
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This is a youthful, small-batch bottling of Caol Ila from the Provenance range, bottled in Winter 2012 without an age statement. It was described by the bottlers as "Young and Feisty".  More info
$92.93
A single cask bottling of single malt Scotch whisky from one of Islay's most respected and loved distilleries - Ardbeg. This Duncan Taylor Single bottling contains whisky distilled in May 1994 and...  More info
$726.97
Unveiled in 2014, Octomore 06.3 Islay Barley was made with barley grown on Islay. In fact, the crop was grown in the field known as Lorgba on Octomore farm! As ever with Bruichladdich's Octomore...  More info
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$223.42
We all have to celebrate the seasons, even if some of those seasons bring mind-numbing heat and others bring ridiculous freezing winds. Why should we celebrate them? Because they don't only bring us...  More info
$84.59
Bunnahabhain around 20-21 years old seems good at the moment. Hard to miss to be honest.  More info
$173.57
The fifth bottling of single malt Scotch whisky from the "Lp" distillery, bottled by Speciality Drinks for their Elements of Islay range, which explores many Islay distilleries and presents the...  More info
$108.00
A Douglas Laing bottling of Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky, drawn from a single cask and bottled in Winter 2014 for their Provenance series. Douglas Laing have described it as "young &...  More info
$74.77
Hunter Laing?! What happened to that Douglas fellow who used to have his name on my Old Malt Cask bottles? Well, the Laing brothers have gone their separate ways, with Stewart retaining the popular...  More info
$125.64
Classic peaty Islay goodness here, matured in a single refil hogshead for 16 years before being bottled by Hunter Laing in December 2013. 322 bottles of this Laphroaig were produced at 50% abv.  More info
$128.07
This single malt Scotch whisky from the Bruichladdich distillery, released under the Port Charlotte name, as they do for all of their peated releases (minus the super-peated Octomore bottlings), is a...  More info
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$84.84
One of the best Unpeated Caol Ila's so far (as of 2011), this is a stunning whisky, distilled in 1999 and aged in first fill ex bourbon American oak casks. Really very good indeed! A release of 6,000...  More info
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$104.71
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