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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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A wonderful single cask release of Caol Ila single malt Scotch whisky, distilled in 1982, from the Mackillop's Choice range. 292 bottles of this delicious Islay whisky were produced from cask 6507 at...  More info
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A first for Islay's farm distillery, Kilchoman - single malt Scotch whisky matured in port casks. It was distilled in 2011 and left to matured in ex-ruby port casks until...  More info
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This Bunnahabhain looks to be a properly Sherried beast! It was distilled on Islay in October 1995 and matured in a Sherry hogshead for 18 years, until it was bottled in August 2014 with a tiny...  More info
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This Bruichladdich is part of the John Milroy Selection bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd. John Milroy led the Scotch Single Malt movement in London from the early 60’s with his brother Wallace.  More info
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A special Kilchoman bottling produced specially for the 2014 Islay whisky festival, it was matured for around 5 years, initially in first-fill bourbon casks before...  More info
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35 year old Caol Ila single malt, good gosh! Taken from hogshead cask #10291, which lovingly matured the whisky for 35 years, from February 1979 to March 2014. After this, it was bottled by Douglas...  More info
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Single cask Laphroaig! Awesome! This single malt Scotch whisky was distilled in 2002 and left to mature in a refill hoggie for 11 years, until 2014, when it was bottled with no added colouring or...  More info
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One of Bunnahabhain's special bottlings produced for the 2014 Islay whisky festival. Distilled in November 1996, it was moved into a Cognac cask in October 2007 before...  More info
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