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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.

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
$352.12

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)

Lagavulin 1980 (bottled 1999) Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish - Distillers Edition

70cl, 43%
Lagavulin

Distilled in 1980 at Lagavulin, this is one of the tremendous Distiller's Editions finished in Pedro Ximénez casks. It's delicious - like peat smoke mixed with syrupy rich sherry.  More info

Lagavulin 1980 (bottled 1999) Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish - Distillers Edition
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$135.72

Laphroaig 15 Year Old 1992 Advance Sample - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

20cl, 50%
Laphroaig

This was distilled in April 1992 and aged in refill hogshead number 3932 for15 years before bottling in October 2007 as an "Advance Sample" from the Old Malt Cask range.  More info

Laphroaig 15 Year Old 1992 Advance Sample - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Port Ellen 26 Year Old 1982 Cask 4447 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Port Ellen

A stunning 26 year old from the Port Ellen distillery - one of the most legendary distilleries in the world. This was distilled in February 1982 and aged for 26 years in sherry butt number 4447…  More info

Port Ellen 26 Year Old 1982 Cask 4447 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Bunnahabhain 16 Year Old Manzanilla Sherry Wood Finish

70cl, 53.2%
Bunnahabhain

A special limited release bottling from Bunnahabhain. There are just 3,792 bottles of this cask strength, Manzanilla finished Bunnahabhain.  More info

Bunnahabhain 16 Year Old Manzanilla Sherry Wood Finish

Caol Ila 1996 - Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon and MacPhail)

70cl, 43%
Caol Ila

This 1996 vintage bottling from Gordon and MacPhail's Connoisseur's Choice is a veritable exhibition of Caol Ila's character, there is a fruity freshness underpinning phenols and a strong coastal…  More info

Caol Ila 1996 - Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon and MacPhail)
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Laphroaig Cairdeas

70cl, 55%
Laphroaig

Cairdeas derives from the Gaelic for 'Friendship', this is a rare cask strength edition from the Laphroaig distillery.  More info

Laphroaig Cairdeas
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Caol Ila 10 Year Old 1998 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

This was distilled at the Caol Ila distillery in Askaig in the Spring of 1998. It was aged for a decade in a single refill barrel (number 4297) before bottling in the Spring of 2008 by Douglas Laing.  More info

Caol Ila 10 Year Old 1998 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

Bunnahabhain 1991 - The MacPhail's Collection (Gordon and MacPhail)

70cl, 43%
Bunnahabhain

A markedly rich bottling from Gordon and MacPhail, this Bunnahabhain single malt was distilled in 1991 and offers some lovely feinty notes with hints of coffee and honey.  More info

Bunnahabhain 1991 - The MacPhail's Collection (Gordon and MacPhail)
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Caol Ila 25 Year Old 1984 Cask 5387 (Bladnoch)

70cl, 54.3%
Caol Ila

Distilled at Caol Ila on the 13th November and matured in cask number 5387 for 25 years before bottling by Bladnoch on the 23rd March 2010. A release of 263 numbered bottles at cask strength.  More info

Caol Ila 25 Year Old 1984 Cask 5387 (Bladnoch)

Bowmore 25 Year Old 1983 - Old and Rare Platinum (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 47.8%
Bowmore

Distilled in March 1983 at the Bowmore distillery, this was aged for 25 years in a single cask before bottling at natural cask strength in August 2008 for the Old and Rare Platinum selection.  More info

Bowmore 25 Year Old 1983 - Old and Rare Platinum (Douglas Laing)

Bruichladdich 15 Year Old - Links Series Birkdale

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

The ninth release in the Links series of casks selected by Jim McEwan, the master distiller, the label on this 15 year old features a painting of Birkdale by the renowned golf artist, Graeme W.…  More info

Bruichladdich 15 Year Old - Links Series Birkdale
$41.32

Caol Ila 23 Year Old 1984 (Adelphi)

70cl, 57.3%
Caol Ila

Distilled at Caol Ila in 1984 and aged for 23 years in cask number 6262 before bottling by Adelphi in 2008 as part of a release of 232 cask strength bottles.  More info

Caol Ila 23 Year Old 1984 (Adelphi)

Bunnahabhain 14 Year Old 1995 - Dun Bheagan (Ian MacLeod)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

A 14 year old Bunnahabhain aged in Medoc barrels (casks 90281 and 90282) before bottling in 2009 as part of a release of 516 bottles.  More info

Bunnahabhain 14 Year Old 1995 - Dun Bheagan (Ian MacLeod)

Bruichladdich 20 Year Old ‘Flirtation’ (3rd Edition)

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

The 3rd edition of the 20 year old single from Bruichladdich matured in ex-bourbon barrels, this dram has enjoyed a flirtation in Malmsey casks and has a rich, spicy cooked fruit flavour - the…  More info

Bruichladdich 20 Year Old ‘Flirtation’ (3rd Edition)

Bowmore 25 Year Old 1983 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Bowmore

Some 25 year old single cask Bowmore. This was distilled in March 1983 and aged in a refill hogshead. Bottled by Douglas Laing in March 2008, with an outturn of 259 bottles.  More info

Bowmore 25 Year Old 1983 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Port Ellen 25 Year Old 1982 Advance Sample - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing) 20cl

20cl, 50%
Port Ellen

A 20cl Advance Sample from Douglas Laing. This was distilled at the Port Ellen distillery in November 1982 and aged for 25 years in sherry butt number 4673. It was bottled in September 2008.  More info

Port Ellen 25 Year Old 1982 Advance Sample - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing) 20cl

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old 1997 - NC2 (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

A fruity, gentle Islay whisky, bottled for Duncan Taylor's NC2 range. This was distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2009. It is both non-chillfiltered and non caramel coloured.  More info

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old 1997 - NC2 (Duncan Taylor)

Port Ellen 26 Year Old 1983 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Port Ellen

This was distilled not long before the Port Ellen distillery closed for good. Bottled in August 2009 by Douglas Laing, there are 610 bottles of this, from refill butt number 5441.  More info

Port Ellen 26 Year Old 1983 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Caol Ila 14 Year Old 1994 Tokaji Wood Finish - Private Collection (Gordon and MacPhail)

70cl, 45%
Caol Ila

A Tokaji finished Caol Ila, this was distilled on the 30th September 1994 and matured in three casks before bottling by Gordon and MacPhail in July of 2009. Part of a release of just 492 bottles.  More info

Caol Ila 14 Year Old 1994 Tokaji Wood Finish - Private Collection (Gordon and MacPhail)

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