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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 11 Year Old 2000 (Boisdale Collection)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

This Bowmore was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd for the Boisdale chain of Scottish bars and restaurants. It is bottled at 46%abv without chill filtration.  More info

Bowmore 11 Year Old 2000 (Boisdale Collection)
$47.59

Caol Ila 1983 (cask 4825) (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 54.90%
Caol Ila

From Berry's whisky selection comes this single cask Caol Ila distilled in 1983 and aged for 28 years in cask 4825 before bottling in 2011.  More info

Caol Ila 1983 (cask 4825) (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$132.77

Bowmore 9 Year Old 1999 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

A 9 year old Bowmore from Douglas Laing's Provenance range. This whisky was distilled in Summer 1999 and bottled in 2009 after maturation in a single refill hogshead.  More info

Bowmore 9 Year Old 1999 - Provenance (Douglas Laing)
$48.75

Caol Ila 14 Year Old 1997 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

This is a fourteen year old Caol Ila bottled without chill-filtration by Signatory to maintain flavour and texture.  More info

Caol Ila 14 Year Old 1997 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)
$44.87

The John Milroy 21 Year Old Islay (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 45%
Bowmore

A single-cask bottling of Bowmore named for John Milroy.  More info

The John Milroy 21 Year Old Islay (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$81.52

Lagavulin 21 Year Old 1991 (2012 Special Release)

70cl, 52%
Lagavulin

The original Lagavulin 21 Year Old has achieved legendary status in the whisky world so I was frothing at the bit to try this 52%abv Lagavulin bottled from first-fill ex-sherry casks. This is a…  More info

Lagavulin 21 Year Old 1991 (2012 Special Release)
1

Bunnahabhain 9 Years Old 2001 Sherrywood - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

This is a nine year old whisky from the Islay distillery of Bunnahabhain. This single malt has been aged in ex-Sherry casks for a deeper and richer flavour.  More info

Bunnahabhain 9 Years Old 2001 Sherrywood - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)
$48.54

Bunnahabhain 22 Year Old 1988 - Rare Auld (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 53.60%
Bunnahabhain

This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in September 1988, it was aged for 22 years in cask 2356 before bottling by Duncan Taylor's Rare Auld series in August of 2011. A cask strength release of 237…  More info

Bunnahabhain 22 Year Old 1988 - Rare Auld (Duncan Taylor)

Wemyss Sandy Seaweed 1997 (Bunnahabhain)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

This is single malt whisky from Wemyss Malts is so named because it has a sandy seaweed like flavour.  More info

Wemyss Sandy Seaweed 1997 (Bunnahabhain)
$78.00

Bowmore 35 Year Old 1970 - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)

70cl, 51.30%
Bowmore

An absolutely stunningly packaged Bowmore distilled on the 24th September 1970, aged in sherry butt 4687 and bottled at natural cask strength for Signatory's Cask Strength Collection on the 15th June…  More info

Bowmore 35 Year Old 1970 - Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve (Signatory)

Caol Ila Distillery Only

70cl, 58.40%
Caol Ila

The very rare and very special distillery only bottling from Caol Ila. To get this stuff usually, you have to go all the way to Islay! This was launched at the 2007 Feis Ile, and it has a lovely…  More info

Caol Ila Distillery Only
2
$109.38

Bruichladdich 17 Year Old Rum Cask

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

This is the first ever rum finished 'Laddie, this was matured for 15 years in bourbon before an additional 2 years in rum casks used to mature their Renegade rums. The rum came from the Uitvlugt and…  More info

Bruichladdich 17 Year Old Rum Cask
3
$59.53

Bruichladdich 10 Year Old 2001 Heavily Peated - The Octave (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 55.40%
Bruichladdich

A beautiful Bruichladdich from Duncan Taylor. This was distilled from heavily peated malt (unusual for Bruichladdich), and it was finished in a 70 litre sherry Octave cask.  More info

Bruichladdich 10 Year Old 2001 Heavily Peated - The Octave (Duncan Taylor)
$94.49

Bruichladdich 16 Year Old 1993 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Bruichladdich

A 16 year old single cask Bruichladdich distilled in November of 1993, this was aged in a refill hogshead before bottling in July 2010 for Douglas Laing's stellar Old Malt Cask range. A release of…  More info

Bruichladdich 16 Year Old 1993 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)
$73.68

Bowmore 12 Year Old 1999 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

Distilled at Bowmore on the 4th May 1999, this was aged in three bourbon barrels (numbers 800196 thru' '198) before bottling by Signatory on the 26th January 2012. A release of 998 bottles.  More info

Bowmore 12 Year Old 1999 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)
$42.86

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée F: Pomerol (Chateau Lafleur) 16 Year Old

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

Part of the Bruichladdich First Growth, but, curiously, not a first growth. Pomerol is one appellation that does not have designations like Premier Cru. Nonetheless, the top Pomerol wines (Le Pin,…  More info

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée F: Pomerol (Chateau Lafleur) 16 Year Old
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Kilchoman Inaugural 100% Islay

70cl, 50%
Kilchoman

Aged for 3 years in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels, this is a wonderful expression from Kilchoman. This is made 100% on Islay, using nothing but local ingredients  More info

Kilchoman Inaugural 100% Islay

Bruichladdich XX Nostalgia Feis Ile 2012

70cl, 50.40%
Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich's XX Nostalgia is the distillery's 2012 Feis Ile bottling, and very nice it is too. As you might expect from Bruichladdich it has an unusual twist, and has been finished in Gaga Barolo…  More info

Bruichladdich XX Nostalgia Feis Ile 2012
$164.10

Bunnahabhain 13 Year Old 1997 (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1997 and aged in bourbon barrels before it was taken to the Bruichladdich distillery, where it was finished in Port Pipes. It was bottled after 13 years in 2010,…  More info

Bunnahabhain 13 Year Old 1997 (Murray McDavid)

Ardbeg - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

50cl, 51.90%
Ardbeg

This whisky hails from the illustrious Islay distillery of Ardbeg - that sits on the island’s Southern coast and produces its highly peated malt whisky. Ardbeg closed in July 1996, thankfully the…  More info

Ardbeg - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
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Smoke on the Sea Shore 1996 - Wemyss Malts (Bowmore)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

A beautiful whisky, which tastes exactly as the name suggests! This is a single cask Islay malt, distilled in 1996, and aged in a hogshead before bottling for the Wemyss Malts range in 2011. A…  More info

Smoke on the Sea Shore 1996 - Wemyss Malts (Bowmore)
$84.28

Laphroaig 21 Year Old 1990 (cask 11728) - Mackillop's Choice

70cl, 52.20%
Laphroaig

A big, spicy, smoky Laphroaig distilled on the 29th October 1990 and aged for 21 years before bottling in March of 2012. This is a cask strength release from MacKillop's Choice, aged in cask 11728.  More info

Laphroaig 21 Year Old 1990 (cask 11728) - Mackillop's Choice

Bowmore 8 Year Old 2003 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 57.90%
Bowmore

This Bowmore was bottled in 2012 by Berry Brothers and Rudd. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and still delivers a top quality Scotch.  More info

Bowmore 8 Year Old 2003 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$52.50

Caol Ila 19 Year Old 1991 - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

This is a nineteen year old Caol Ila from The Cooper's Choice range bottled at 46% abv. Caol Ila is a peated malt whisky with a coastal character.  More info

Caol Ila 19 Year Old 1991 - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)
$63.22

Bowmore 9 Year Old 2000 (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

This Bowmore was aged in a sherry cask for 9 years. It was taken for additional maturation at the Bruichladdich warehouses, before bottling in 2009. A release of 1,600 bottles from Murray McDavid.  More info

Bowmore 9 Year Old 2000 (Murray McDavid)

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