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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.

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old 1997 Heavily Peated - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 55.7%
Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain bottled by Signatory. This is a cask strength, natural colour whisky distilled on the 4th December 1997, matured in two hogsheads for 12 years before bottling on the 21st January 2010. A…  More info

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old 1997 Heavily Peated - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)
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Bunnahabhain Mòine 2003 - Feis Ile 2009

70cl, 59.6%
Bunnahabhain

Mòine is a special release from the Bunnahabhain distillery. This is a peated expression selected by master distillery Ian MacMillan for Feis Ile 2009. This was distilled in 2003. The name is Gaelic…  More info

Bunnahabhain Mòine 2003 - Feis Ile 2009
$94.27

Laphroaig 8 Year Old 2001 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 46%
Laphroaig

This was matured in two refill hogsheads (casks 5095 and 5096), distilled at Laphroaig in the Spring of 2001 and matured for 8 years before bottling by Douglas Laing in the Spring of 2009 for their…  More info

Laphroaig 8 Year Old 2001 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

Lagavulin 1991 (bottled 2007) Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish - Distillers Edition

70cl, 43%
Lagavulin

When Lagavulin decided to produce a 'finished' whisky - The Distillers Edition, there were doubters who thought nothing could be a match for the pungent strength of Lagavulin. Those sceptics were…  More info

Lagavulin 1991 (bottled 2007) Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish - Distillers Edition
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Caol Ila 25 Year Old 1984 - Rare Auld (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 54.6%
Caol Ila

A limited edition, cask strength single cask from Duncan Taylor. This was distilled at Caol Ila in December 1984, and aged for 25 years in cask 6270 before bottling in May 2010 as part of a release…  More info

Caol Ila 25 Year Old 1984 - Rare Auld (Duncan Taylor)

Laphroaig 16 Year Old 1992 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Laphroaig

A peaty Old Malt Cask. This was distilled at Laphroaig in April 1992 and bottled in January 2009 as a release of 691 bottles. This was aged in refill butt number 4825.  More info

Laphroaig 16 Year Old 1992 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Laphroaig 19 Year Old 1990 Cask 67 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 54.2%
Laphroaig

Distilled on the 22nd October 1990 and matured in a bourbon barrel, single cask number 67, for 19 years before bottling on the 27th October 2009. A release of just 238 bottles of cask strength Islay…  More info

Laphroaig 19 Year Old 1990 Cask 67 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

Caol Ila 30 Year Old 1979 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Caol Ila

Single cask Islay malt, this was distilled at Caol Ila in November 1979 and matured for 30 years in a refill butt before bottling in January 2010. Part of a release of 266 bottles, bottled by Douglas…  More info

Caol Ila 30 Year Old 1979 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)
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Bunnahabhain 34 Year Old 1973 (Jim McEwan's Celtic Heartlands)

70cl, 46.1%
Bunnahabhain

A 34 year old Bunnahabhain selected by Jim McEwan (Master Distiller at Bruichladdich). The Celtic Heartlands range exhibits Jim's incredible originality when it comes to Scotch whisky, and this 1973…  More info

Bunnahabhain 34 Year Old 1973 (Jim McEwan's Celtic Heartlands)

Br1 - Elements of Islay (Bruichladdich)

50cl, 60.5%
Bruichladdich

From the Elements of Islay range from Speciality Drinks. Each is named in the style of a chemical element, each gives a hint at which distillery it might be from. This is Br1...  More info

Br1 - Elements of Islay (Bruichladdich)

Bowmore 14 Year Old 1994 - Mission (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 54%
Bowmore

Distilled at Bowmore in 1994 and matured in refill sherry casks for 14 years before bottling by Murray McDavid at the Bruichladdich distillery in 2009. An outturn of 486 bottles.  More info

Bowmore 14 Year Old 1994 - Mission (Murray McDavid)

Laphroaig 8 Year Old 2001 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

70cl, 46%
Laphroaig

This was distilled at Laphroaig on the 13th September 2001 and matured in hogsheads 2922 and 2923 for 8 years before bottling on the 15th December 2009. A release of 839 bottles from Signatory's…  More info

Laphroaig 8 Year Old 2001 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)
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Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2008 Release)

70cl, 56.4%
Lagavulin

Third of a very limited series of special releases from the essential Islay distillery. Delightfully subtle differences compared to previous 12 year old releases. This is the 2008 edition, a cask…  More info

Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2008 Release)
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Bruichladdich 15 Year Old (1990s Bottling)

70cl, 40%
Bruichladdich

Do you remember a time when Bruichladdich bottles were tall and slender? Well this is a 15 year old bottle from that time (the '90s).  More info

Bruichladdich 15 Year Old (1990s Bottling)

Caol Ila 25 Year Old 1984 Cask 5388 (Bladnoch)

70cl, 54.1%
Caol Ila

A single cask from the Caol Ila distillery. This was distilled on the 13th November 1984 and aged for 25 years in hogshead number 5388 before bottling for the Bladnoch Forum on the 19th March 2010. A…  More info

Caol Ila 25 Year Old 1984 Cask 5388 (Bladnoch)

Caol Ila 24 Year Old 1984 (Bladnoch)

70cl, 55%
Caol Ila

A single cask Caol Ila, distilled on the 13th November 1984 and matured in hogshead 5381 before bottling by the Bladnoch forum on the 10th July 2009. A release of just 290 bottles.  More info

Caol Ila 24 Year Old 1984 (Bladnoch)

Laphroaig 11 Year Old - Duthies (WM Cadenhead)

70cl, 46%
Laphroaig

An 11 year old Cadenhead bottling from the Laphroaig distillery - an Islay based classic distiller known for its medicinal character. This was bottled as part of the Duthies range of unchillfiltered,…  More info

Laphroaig 11 Year Old - Duthies (WM Cadenhead)

Caol Ila 32 Year Old 1974 - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)

70cl, 55.7%
Caol Ila

A 32 year old Caol Ila, bottled by Signatory. This well aged malt was distilled on the 27th December 1974 and matured in a single cask (hogshead number 12624) before bottling on the 28th June 2007.…  More info

Caol Ila 32 Year Old 1974 - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)

Port Ellen 30 Year Old 1979 (9th Release)

70cl, 57.7%
Port Ellen

A very rare, hotly anticipated Port Ellen. This is from the slew of Diageo 2009 Special Releases, this is the 9th release, distilled in 1979 and bottled at cask strength (part of an outturn of 5,916…  More info

Port Ellen 30 Year Old 1979 (9th Release)

Bowmore Largiemeanoch 22 Year Old 1972

70cl, 57.3%
Bowmore

An incredibly rare Bowmore, bottled by the Whisky Connoisseurs. Largiemeanoch is very, very hard to come by. Distilled on the 17th February 1972, and aged in cask 906. This was bottled at "100.2…  More info

Bowmore Largiemeanoch 22 Year Old 1972
$347.89

Ardbeg 18 Year Old 1991 Cask 5440 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Ardbeg

Distilled at Ardbeg in March 1991 and matured for 18 years before bottling in August 2009. A release of 208 bottles, bottled by Douglas Laing.  More info

Ardbeg 18 Year Old 1991 Cask 5440 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)
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Caol Ila 18 Year Old 1991 (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

A wonderfully unique Caol Ila, this was distilled in 1991 and initially aged in bourbon barrels. Jim McEwan, Bruichladdich Master Distiller, selected the cask and then transferred the whisky into…  More info

Caol Ila 18 Year Old 1991 (Murray McDavid)

Port Ellen 27 Year Old 1979 - Old and Rare Platinum (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 57.1%
Port Ellen

A very mature, 27 year old Port Ellen. Perhaps the most legendary distilleries of them all, though now defunct. Just 396 bottles of this were released, a very rare Douglas Laing bottling. Serge from…  More info

Port Ellen 27 Year Old 1979 - Old and Rare Platinum (Douglas Laing)

Kilchoman Spring 2010 Release

70cl, 46%
Kilchoman

Maximum one bottle per customer. The newest release from Islay's new farm distillery, Kilchoman. This was matured for three years in fresh Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels before a 3.5 month finish…  More info

Kilchoman Spring 2010 Release
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Bowmore 9 Year Old 1998 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

A refill hogshead matured Bowmore. This was distilled in Winter 1998 and aged for 9 years in casks 4109 and 4110 before bottling for Douglas Laing's Provenance range in Winter 2008.  More info

Bowmore 9 Year Old 1998 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

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