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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.

Lagavulin 11 Year Old Manager's Dram

70cl, 57.10%
Lagavulin

Bottled exclusively for Diageo staff in 2013, this is a rare natural cask strength Lagavulin single malt Scotch whisky. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information…  More info

Lagavulin 11 Year Old Manager's Dram
$688.90

Bruichladdich Heavily Peated 10 Year Old 2002 (cask 391) - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 54.80%
Bruichladdich

Single cask heavily peated single malt from the excellent Bruichladdich distillery, bottled by Duncan Taylor. This was distilled in June 2002 and set aside to age for 10 years before being bottled…  More info

Bruichladdich Heavily Peated 10 Year Old 2002 (cask 391) - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)
$140.38

Bowmore 41 Year Old 1974 (cask 9007) - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)

70cl, 50.40%
Bowmore

Well, well, well. Would you look at this - 41 year old Bowmore! This is the kind of thing that whisky enthusiasts would see and not be able to hold back some sort of "Cor blimey!" or other…  More info

Bowmore 41 Year Old 1974 (cask 9007) - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)
$1615.59

Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival 2012

70cl, 54.50%
Lagavulin

Lagavulin's special Islay Jazz Festival release from 2012, matured in a single refill Sherry butt and bottled at cask strength! This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed…  More info

Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival 2012
$435.39

Bowmore 2001 (bottled 2015) (cask 15049) - 46 Range (Malts of Scotland)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

A 2001 vintage Bowmore single malt, aged in a single bourbon hogshead until 2015. It was bottled by Malts of Scotland with an outturn of 330 bottles.  More info

Bowmore 2001 (bottled 2015) (cask 15049) - 46 Range (Malts of Scotland)
$81.02

Bowmore 1987 (bottled 2015) (cask 15023) - Angel's Choice (Malts of Scotland)

35cl, 51.30%
Bowmore

Islay whisky enthusiasts will want to pay attention to this one - a well-Sherried single cask Bowmore! It was distilled in 1987 and aged in a Sherry hogshead until 2015, when German bottler Malts of…  More info

Bowmore 1987 (bottled 2015) (cask 15023) - Angel's Choice (Malts of Scotland)
$275.56

Port Ellen 27 Year Old 1978 - Old & Rare Platinum (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 54.80%
Port Ellen

An independent bottling of single malt from the closed and now legendary Port Ellen distillery on Islay. It was bottled in 2006, when the Old & Rare Platinum range was still part of the Douglas Laing…  More info

Port Ellen 27 Year Old 1978 - Old & Rare Platinum (Douglas Laing)
$1096.15

Bowmore Feis Ile 2014

70cl, 56.10%
Bowmore

One of two Fèis Ìle releases from Bowmore for 2014 and the only festival bottling we didn't manage to get our hands on when we visited that year. The 1,000 bottles sold out straight away you see,…  More info

Bowmore Feis Ile 2014
$203.92

The Admiral's Beacon 1980 (bottled 2015) - Wemyss Malts (Caol Ila)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

Ooh, a Wemyss Malts bottling of 1980 vintage Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky! As ever, they've given this independent bottling a rather descriptive title - 'The Admiral's Beacon'. This is a…  More info

The Admiral's Beacon 1980 (bottled 2015) - Wemyss Malts (Caol Ila)
$300.49

Bruichladdich 21 Year Old 1992 (cask 978052) - The Octave (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 50.80%
Bruichladdich

21 year old Bruichladdich single malt, bottled as part of The Octave range. This was distilled on the Isle of Islay in 1992, allowed a finishing period in a tiny octave cask and bottled in 2014 with…  More info

Bruichladdich 21 Year Old 1992 (cask 978052) - The Octave (Duncan Taylor)
$154.68

Bruichladdich 2004 (bottled 2015) (cask 15010) - Malts of Scotland

70cl, 55.50%
Bruichladdich

This is a Malts of Scotland bottling of 11 year old Bruichladdich single malt Scotch whisky (it's a peated Bruichladdich at that!), aged in a bourbon barrel from 2004 until 2015. 312 bottles were…  More info

Bruichladdich 2004 (bottled 2015) (cask 15010) - Malts of Scotland
$85.88

Fields of Barley 1990 (bottled 2015) - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

Another aptly named Wemyss single cask bottling of Scotch malt whisky. This one's from Bunnahabhain distillery on Islay and was distilled in 1990.  More info

Fields of Barley 1990 (bottled 2015) - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)
$113.47

Briny Tangle 1990 (bottled 2015) - Wemyss Malts (Bowmore)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

A 1990 vintage Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky, bottled by Wemyss Malts. This was aged in a hogshead cask from 1990 to 2015, before being bottled at 46% ABV with an outturn of 265 bottles and given…  More info

Briny Tangle 1990 (bottled 2015) - Wemyss Malts (Bowmore)
$276.21

Ardbeg Dark Cove

70cl, 46.50%
Ardbeg

Ardbeg Dark Cove is matured in ex-bourbon and "dark Sherry casks" for "The Darkest Ardbeg Ever". If the Committee Release is anything to go by (which it is), then the hue isn't actually terribly…  More info

Ardbeg Dark Cove
3
$110.17

Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach

70cl, 46.30%
Bunnahabhain

For the Ceòbanach (pronounced 'kyaw-bin-och'), the Bunnahabhain distillers have taken inspiration from the days when the distillery used to produced heavily peated spirit. Meaning 'Smoky mist' in…  More info

Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach
12
$58.37

The Ileach Peaty

70cl, 40%
Highlands and Islands Whisky Company

The Ileach is a peaty single malt from a secret Islay distillery, this has received rave reviews from whisky critics and has a solid core of peat and malt.  More info

The Ileach Peaty
52
$32.33

Lagavulin 1998 (bottled 2014) Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish - Distillers Edition

70cl, 43%
Lagavulin

A Distillers Edition bottling of Lagavulin single malt Scotch whisky, distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2014 following a finishing period in Pedro Ximénez casks. These Distillers Editions have proved…  More info

Lagavulin 1998 (bottled 2014) Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish - Distillers Edition
16
$81.52

Ardbeg 12 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

50cl, 52%
Ardbeg

That's right folks - a Boutique-y whisky with an age statement! With more and more no age statement whiskies being released these days, That Boutique-y Whisky Company have chosen to go the other way.…  More info

Ardbeg 12 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
1
$110.17

Bruichladdich 9 Year Old 2006 (cask 1339) - Svenska Eldvatten

70cl, 59.50%
Bruichladdich

An independent single cask bottling of Bruichladdich single malt, aged in a 'fresh ex-Oloso Sherry hogshead' from July 2006 to January 2016. This well Sherried piece of Islay gorgeousness was bottled…  More info

Bruichladdich 9 Year Old 2006 (cask 1339) - Svenska Eldvatten
$109.08

Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old

70cl, 46.30%
Bunnahabhain

In what will be seen as a positive move to whisky connoisseurs, Bunnahabhain have decided to bottle the 18 year old without chill-filtration and without colouring.  More info

Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old
28
$75.45

Bruichladdich 10 Year Old 2005 (cask 452) - Svenska Eldvatten

70cl, 59.20%
Bruichladdich

A Swedish independent bottling of Scotch single malt from the Islay distillery of Bruichladdich. Matured in a single Sherry hogshead, the outturn was 264 bottles.  More info

Bruichladdich 10 Year Old 2005 (cask 452) - Svenska Eldvatten
$108.96

Bruichladdich 9 Year Old 2006 (cask 511) - Svenska Eldvatten

70cl, 60.20%
Bruichladdich

Wowsers, first fill Oloroso cask matured Bruichladdich from Svenska Eldvatten! The outturn from the single cask was 285 bottles.  More info

Bruichladdich 9 Year Old 2006 (cask 511) - Svenska Eldvatten
$104.40

Bruichladdich 11 Year Old 2004 (cask 1407) - Svenska Eldvatten

70cl, 59.20%
Bruichladdich

11 year old single cask (bourbon barrel) Bruichladdich from Svenska Eldvatten, distilled in November 2004 and bottled in November 2015. It's nice to taste some more Islay whiskies from these chaps…  More info

Bruichladdich 11 Year Old 2004 (cask 1407) - Svenska Eldvatten
$104.16

Bruichladdich DNA 1985 3rd Edition

70cl, 50.10%
Bruichladdich

A rare new release from Bruichladdich, this is the third edition in the DNA series. Created by Master Distiller Jim McEwan, this was made using some of the very best casks in the Bruichladdich…  More info

Bruichladdich DNA 1985 3rd Edition
$296.42

Caol Ila 35 Year Old 1980 - Old & Rare Platinum (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 52.10%
Caol Ila

Very well-aged Caol Ila - whisky enthusiast's ears perk up at just the mere uttering of the phrase! This is a 35 year old Caol Ila, distilled in September 1980 matured in a refill hogshead until…  More info

Caol Ila 35 Year Old 1980 - Old & Rare Platinum (Hunter Laing)
$523.13

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