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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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Part of Douglas Laing's Xtra Old Particular range, which was introduced in 2014, this Caol Ila certainly fits the bill of being well-matured, sitting at a cool 30 years old. It was distilled in...  More info
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Celebrate all the good deeds casks do for us with a Càrn Mòr Celebration of the Cask bottling of 23 year old Bunnahabhain! What do you mean "What good deeds do casks do?" They mature whisky like this...  More info
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An indie bottling of 10 year old Caol Ila single malt. It was distilled on Islay in 2003 and matured until 2014, when it was bottled with an outturn of 738 bottles. We have WM Cadenhead to thank for...  More info
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An independently bottled single malt from one of the most famous closed Scottish distilleries - the Port Ellen distillery on the island of Islay. It was distilled in October 1982 and matured in a...  More info
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Ardbeg Auriverdes
(70cl, 49.90%)
Strictly 1 Per Customer

A special edition single malt launched on Ardbeg Day 2014 - a day celebrated both at the Islay festival, Fèis Ìle and around the world. Auri(Gold)verdes(Green) is a name...  More info
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Fancy some cask strength Caol Ila single malt? Well lucky you, we've got some right here, bottled by the one and only Gordon & MacPhail! This is a 12 year old Caol Ila, distilled in September 2003 and...  More info
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13 year old Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, independently bottled for the Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection. This tasty Islay dram was distilled in August 2001 and set aside to mature until...  More info
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