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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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Bowmore 100 Degrees Proof
(100cl, 57.10%)
Produced for the travel market, Bowmore 100 degrees Proof is a cask-strength, non chill-filtered Bowmore that packs a hefty maritime punch.  More info
User Rating:  (3 Reviews)
$124.56
A 15-year-old expression from Bowmore, aimed at the travel retail market, Mariner is a very different Bowmore with a maritime twist.  More info
User Rating:  (4 Reviews)
$108.98
A comparatively recent release from Bunnahabhain, a less-peated dram from Islay, this single malt has been sherry matured for 18 years and exhibits coastal notes and some medicinal undertones.  More info
User Rating:  (7 Reviews)
Port Charlotte PC9
(70cl, 59.20%)
An incredibly limited release from Bruichladdich, this edition of the ferociously peaty Port Charlotte was aged for 9 years in American oak, and there are just 6,000 bottles (which are likely to sell...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
Bowmore Enigma is a 12-year-old expression with a higher proportion of sherry matured whisky than the standard bottling.
Bottled for the travel retail market, this is rich and very drinkable.  More info
User Rating:  (6 Reviews)
$77.82
When the current owners took over the Bruichladdich distillery there was a good stock of casks from the 1960s and 1970s. Whiskies from both have been used in DNA before a finish in Le Pin claret...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$654.22
A release of 755 bottles, distilled at Bunnahabhain, matured in bourbon barrels and taken to Bruichladdich for bottling in 2009. A cask strength 19 year old bottled by Murray McDavid.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$104.46
This Bunnahabhain was distilled in September 1988 and it was aged for 23 years in cask 2358 before bottling by Duncan Taylor for their Dimensions series in November 2011. A release of 225 numbered...  More info
Aged for an incredible 40 years this is a serious whisky from Duncan Taylor. Distilled at the Bunnahabhain distillery in 1968 (the same year LL Cool J was born), this was bottled as part of the...  More info
A single cask Bunnahabhain, bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd. This was distilled in 1990 and aged in cask 18 for 21 years before bottling un-chillfiltered at natural cask strength in 2012.  More info
$138.88
Bowmore Springtide
(70cl, 54.90%)
Bowmore Springtide is the distillery's premium offering for the travel retail market, a cask strength, non chill-filtered single malt predominantly matured in first-fill Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.  More info
$311.52
A lovely expression from Bowmore carefully selected by the Maltmen at the distillery. These men continue the traditional floor maltings at the distillery - a rare thing now in modern Scotch whisky...  More info
$233.62
A 13 year old Laphroaig distilled on the 12th May 1998 and aged in hogsheads 5554 and 5555 before bottling for Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection on the 27th April 2012. A release of 666 numbered...  More info
$74.11
This is the first sherry matured whisky from Kilchoman, and despite being a mere five years of age it's a very characterful dram from an Islay distillery that's producing some wonderful whisky.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$77.12
Just 732 bottles of this 1964 vintage Bowmore were released. Part of a trio from that year, this one with the moniker 'White', was named after the lighter colour that bourbon maturation tends to...  More info
$8095.24
This 19 year old Bruichladdich was distilled on the 3rd April 1992. It was aged in two hogsheads (numbers 1344 and 1352) before bottling by Signatory on the 26th January 2012. A release of 665...  More info
$82.04
Distilled at Laphroaig 2nd of May 1996 and aged in hogshead number 1983 for 13 years before bottling on the 8th June 2009. A release of 280 bottles, bottled by Speciality Drinks.  More info
$76.26
A cask strength release from the Islay distillery, Bowmore. This 'Claret' finish whisky has been matured for 16 years, with a finish in a Bordeaux Wine Cask - the label is emblazoned, accordingly...  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
This 12 year old Caol Ila was distilled on the 18th November 1999 and it was aged in two hogsheads (casks 310804 and 310806) before bottling by Signatory on the 12th December 2011. A release of 887...  More info
An 11 year old Laphroaig, distilled in 2000 and aged in a single cask before bottling for Douglas Laing's smart-looking Premier Barrel range. A release of just 384 hand-filled decanters.  More info
$113.19
A delicious single cask Bunnahabhain distilled in 1997 and bottled by Wemyss Malts in August of 2008. This is a release of just 360 bottles.  More info
$130.20
This 25 year old offering from the Bunnahabhain distillery is a sherried dram, part of a limited release of just 400 bottles, as such it is a rather rare, lightly peated release from Islay.  More info
User Rating:  (4 Reviews)
$306.94
A refill hogshead-matured Laphroaig, distilled in October of 1996, this was aged for 15 years before bottling in December 2011. A release of 321 bottles from Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range.  More info
$127.57
Bowmore 17 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A 17 year old Bowmore with a beautifully balanced, rounded palate with notes of soft chocolate, toffee apples and a little wood smoke. This was a Gold Medal winner at the International Spirits...  More info
User Rating:  (4 Reviews)
$151.05
A beautifully dark whisky from Signatory's award-winning Cask Strength Collection. This was distilled on the 21st January 1980 and was aged in sherry butt 604 for 31 years before bottling in 2012. A...  More info
$185.32

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