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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.

Laphroaig 15 Year Old 2001 (cask 12357) - Old Malt Cask (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 50%
Laphroaig

Sherried Laphroaig - yum yum yum! This single malt Scotch whisky was distilled on the Isle of Islay in February 2001 and aged in a refill butt until April 2016, when the chaps at Hunter Laing bottled…  More info

Laphroaig 15 Year Old 2001 (cask 12357) - Old Malt Cask (Hunter Laing)
$139.52

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)
$169.62

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)
$329.52

Bowmore 7 Year Old 2000 - Feis Ile 2007

70cl, 57.10%
Bowmore

Distilled 9th February 2000 and matured in a fresh Sherry cask, this was Bowmore's 2007 Fèis Ìle (Islay Festival) bottling. Just 700 bottles were released. This bottle was part of a private…  More info

Bowmore 7 Year Old 2000 - Feis Ile 2007
$235.65

Bowmore Virgin Oak - Feis Ile 2015

70cl, 55.70%
Bowmore

A festival release from Fèis Ìle 2015 of 1,000 bottles matured in selected virgin oak casks and bottled at natural strength! This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed…  More info

Bowmore Virgin Oak - Feis Ile 2015
$217.52

Bowmore 28 Year Old 1981 Vintage Edition

70cl, 49.50%
Bowmore

A limited edition 1981 vintage Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky, matured for 28 years before being bottled at 49.6% in 2010. Each numbered bottle comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by…  More info

Bowmore 28 Year Old 1981 Vintage Edition
$1178.53

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
$235.65

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)
$1202.06

Bowmore 26 Year Old 1988 - Feis Ile 2015

70cl, 48.30%
Bowmore

Matured in selected ex-Sherry casks and bottled at cask strength, this is a special Fèis Ìle 2015 release from Bowmore. This bottle was part of a private collection. More detailed information…  More info

Bowmore 26 Year Old 1988 - Feis Ile 2015
$1202.71

Bunnahabhain 26 Year Old 1987 - Highland Laird (Bartels Whisky)

70cl, 51.10%
Bunnahabhain

A Highland Laird bottling of some rather well-aged Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky! This was distilled in 1987, matured in a bourbon hogshead and bottled 26 years later by Bartels Whisky. The…  More info

Bunnahabhain 26 Year Old 1987 - Highland Laird (Bartels Whisky)
$182.52

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)
$302.18

Bunnhabhain 2005 (bottled 2015) (cask 15034) - 46 Range (Malts of Scotland)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

From the Malts of Scotland independently bottling selection comes a single cask Bunnahabhain single malt, distilled in 2005, aged in a bourbon hogshead and bottled in 2015 at 46% ABV. 278 bottles of…  More info

Bunnhabhain 2005 (bottled 2015) (cask 15034) - 46 Range (Malts of Scotland)
$82.20

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)
$88.84

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
$513.72

Bunnahabhain 42 Year Old 1973 (cask 12145) - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)

70cl, 47.90%
Bunnahabhain

An independently bottled Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky, aged for 42 years in a refill Sherry butt, from December 1973 to January 2016. This was bottled by the chaps at Signatory for their…  More info

Bunnahabhain 42 Year Old 1973 (cask 12145) - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)
$1029.01

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)
$1771.68

Bowmore 12 Year Old 2001 (cask 10893) - Old Malt Cask (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 50%
Bowmore

This is a single cask Bowmore single malt Scotch whisky, bottled by the folks at Hunter Laing for their Old Malt Cask range. It was distilled in December 2001 and bottled in October 2014 with an…  More info

Bowmore 12 Year Old 2001 (cask 10893) - Old Malt Cask (Hunter Laing)
$77.12

Bunnahabhain 7 Year Old 2008 (cask 604) - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 54.10%
Bunnahabhain

339 bottles were filled from cask 604 by Duncan Taylor in October 2015. The whisky was distilled at Bunnahabhain on Islay in May 2008.  More info

Bunnahabhain 7 Year Old 2008 (cask 604) - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)
$55.31

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)
$145.59

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
$840.09

Port Ellen 24 Year Old 1978 - 2nd Release (2002 Special Release)

70cl, 59.40%
Port Ellen

The second bottling in Diageo's series of Port Ellens for their annual Special Releases. A rare and sought after whisky from a legendary distillery that stopped producing back in 1983. This bottle…  More info

Port Ellen 24 Year Old 1978 - 2nd Release (2002 Special Release)
$1927.96

Bunnahabhain 31 Year Old 1976 - Mission Gold (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 48.10%
Bunnahabhain

31 year old Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky, matured in Fino Sherry oak - a delightful combination... A release of 216 bottles from Murray McDavid's Mission Gold range.  More info

Bunnahabhain 31 Year Old 1976 - Mission Gold (Murray McDavid)
$537.83

Bowmore 26 Year Old 1989 (cask 3) - Mission Gold (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 50.40%
Bowmore

Single cask Bowmore, presented as part of Murray McDavid's illustrious Mission Gold indie bottling series! It was distilled in 1989, initially matured in a bourbon barrel and finished in a Chateau…  More info

Bowmore 26 Year Old 1989 (cask 3) - Mission Gold (Murray McDavid)
$414.54

Port Ellen 33 Year Old 1982 - Old & Rare Platinum (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 58.30%
Port Ellen

Sherry matured single cask Port Ellen! Hunter Laing have bottled this extremely exciting 33 year old malt from this famous closed Islay distillery. Bottled from the Sherry butt in October 2015, just…  More info

Port Ellen 33 Year Old 1982 - Old & Rare Platinum (Hunter Laing)
$2231.72

Bunnahabhain Infinity 1974 (cask 604) (bottled 2014) - Samaroli

70cl, 43.60%
Bunnahabhain

Matured for around four decades, this is an independent bottling of Bunnahabhain single malt from Italian bottler Samaroli and their Concept range.  More info

Bunnahabhain Infinity 1974 (cask 604) (bottled 2014) - Samaroli
$594.28

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