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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.

Port Ellen 30 Year Old 1982 - Old and Rare (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 51.80%
Port Ellen

A marvellous and decidedly rare Port Ellen distilled in April 1982 and aged for a massive 30 years in a single refill hogshead before bottling in April 2012 for Douglas Laing's premium Old and Rare…  More info

Port Ellen 30 Year Old 1982 - Old and Rare (Douglas Laing)

Bunnahabhain 32 Year Old 1978 - Mission (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 52.30%
Bunnahabhain

A stunning whisky from Murray McDavid, incredibly rare, and impressively packaged. This was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1978 and aged for 32 years in sherry wood. Bottled as a release of 810…  More info

Bunnahabhain 32 Year Old 1978 - Mission (Murray McDavid)

Bowmore 11 Year Old 2000 (Cask 7858) - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Bowmore

An 11 year old Bowmore, distilled in September 2000 and aged in a sherry butt before bottling in November 2011. A rich, muscular malt, and part of a release of just 439 bottles.  More info

Bowmore 11 Year Old 2000 (Cask 7858) - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Ardbeg Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

70cl, 53%
Ardbeg

One of the rarest things ever to be, Ardbeg's stunning cask 1217 was especially laid down for Lord Robertson's (NATO Secretary General, born on Islay) charity project Erskine, which provides nursing…  More info

Ardbeg Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
$648.95

Ardbeg 18 Year Old - Single Cask (Master of Malt)

70cl, 56.30%
Ardbeg

Ardbeg changed hands between 1996 and 1997, since then the distillery has only released a Ten Year Old with an age statement. So it is pretty darn exciting *massively massively exciting* to get to…  More info

Ardbeg 18 Year Old - Single Cask (Master of Malt)
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Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée D: Pessac Leognan (Chateau Haut-Brion) 16 Year Old

70cl, 46%
Bruichladdich

Oooh la la. A superb Bruichladdich matured in wine barrels from one of the greatest wineries in the world: Chateau Haut-Brion from Pessac-Léognan! Makers of This is part of Bruichladdich's series of…  More info

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée D: Pessac Leognan (Chateau Haut-Brion) 16 Year Old

Bowmore 9 Year Old 2001 (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

This was distilled at Bowmore in 2001, and initially aged in bourbon casks. It was then taken a few miles down the road to the Bruichladdich distillery, where it was finished in Port Pipes before…  More info

Bowmore 9 Year Old 2001 (Murray McDavid)

Laphroaig 14 Years Old 1998 Cask 9222 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Laphroaig

Douglas Laing have bottled a single cask of the peaty Laphroaig single malt, with chill filtration, for their Old Malt Cask series.  More info

Laphroaig 14 Years Old 1998 Cask 9222 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Caol Ila 20 Year Old 1991 - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

This is a 20 year old Caol Ila bottled for the Cooper's Choice series of Scotch whisky.  More info

Caol Ila 20 Year Old 1991 - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)
$62.48

Bowmore 1996 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 55.90%
Bowmore

This is a delicious cask-strength Bowmore from Berry Brothers and Rudd. It was distilled in 1996, aged in a single cask (number 1378) and bottled in 2011.  More info

Bowmore 1996 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$54.93

Bowmore 22 Year Old 1989 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 53.70%
Bowmore

This is twenty-two year old Bowmore was bottled by Berry Brothers and Rudd from a single cask.  More info

Bowmore 22 Year Old 1989 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$99.91

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old 1997 (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

Selected by Jim McEwan, this was distilled at Bunnahabhain in 1997, and aged in bourbon casks before a finish in Premier Cru Sauternes casks from Château d'Yquem. Bottled at the Bruichladdich…  More info

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old 1997 (Murray McDavid)

Bowmore 22 Year Old 1989 - Mission (Murray McDavid)

70cl, 54.40%
Bowmore

This is a twenty-two year old Bowmore from independent bottlers Murray MsDavid's Mission range. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on the storm-swept isle of Islay and displays peaty coastal flavours…  More info

Bowmore 22 Year Old 1989 - Mission (Murray McDavid)

Lg2 - Elements of Islay (Lagavulin)

50cl, 58%
Lagavulin

The second release in the Lg range of Elements. An interesting alternative to the distillery's standard bottling.  More info

Lg2 - Elements of Islay (Lagavulin)
$53.19

Lemon Smoke 1996 - Wemyss Malts (Caol Ila)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

A delicious 16 year old, 1996 vintage from Wemyss Malts' range of superbly appropriately named whiskies - this is Lemon Smoke... It comes from a secret distillery on Islay - let's just say it's C…  More info

Lemon Smoke 1996 - Wemyss Malts (Caol Ila)

Bruichladdich Octomore 5.1

70cl, 59.50%
Bruichladdich

There is no stopping the black peat train that rattles along tracks of mulch that is Bruichladdich's Octomore range. This peat beast is topping an almighty 169ppm (that's phenol parts per million,…  More info

Bruichladdich Octomore 5.1
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$75.98

The John Milroy 22 Year Old Islay (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 48.40%
Bowmore

A single-cask bottling of Islay's Bowmore bottled with the approval of Whisky Legend John Milroy.  More info

The John Milroy 22 Year Old Islay (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$85.69

Bunnahabhain 24 Year Old 1987 - The Octave (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 55%
Bunnahabhain

This comes from Duncan Taylor's Octave range, where fine whiskies are recasked into "octave casks" - much smaller than regular hogsheads, these allow the whisky to age faster and absorb more spicy…  More info

Bunnahabhain 24 Year Old 1987 - The Octave (Duncan Taylor)

Caol Ila 15 Year Old 1997 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

This fifteen year old Caol Ila has been bottled by Signatory without chill filtration and is a deliciously peaty Islay single malt!  More info

Caol Ila 15 Year Old 1997 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

Bunnahabhain 11 Year Old 2001 - Strictly Limited (Càrn Mòr)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

This is a "Strictly Limited" single cask Bunnahabhain from Carn Mor. It was distilled in 2001 before a maturation in a single sherry puncheon. Bottled in 2012, there are just 785 bottles available.  More info

Bunnahabhain 11 Year Old 2001 - Strictly Limited (Càrn Mòr)

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old Feis Ile 2012

70cl, 54.30%
Bunnahabhain

A superb and very rare 12 year old Bunnahabhain at natural cask strength, matured in an Amontillado sherry cask. This was bottled especially for the 2012 Feis Ile (Islay Festival) and there are just…  More info

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old Feis Ile 2012
$324.43

Bowmore 19 Year Old 1992 (cask 4192) - Mackillop's Choice

70cl, 43%
Bowmore

This is a twenty year old Bowmore bottled by Mackillop's Choice in 2012. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and produces a smoky malt whisky.  More info

Bowmore 19 Year Old 1992 (cask 4192) - Mackillop's Choice

Port Ellen 30 Year Old 1982 - Old and Rare (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 54.20%
Port Ellen

A marvellous and decidedly rare Port Ellen distilled in 1982 and aged for a massive 30 years in a single refill hogshead before bottling in 2012 for Douglas Laing's premium Old and Rare Platinum…  More info

Port Ellen 30 Year Old 1982 - Old and Rare (Douglas Laing)
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Caol Ila 12 Year Old 1999 (Signatory)

70cl, 43%
Caol Ila

This 12 year old Caol Ila was distilled on the 12th November 1999 and it was aged in two hogsheads before bottling by Signatory on the 12th December 2011.  More info

Caol Ila 12 Year Old 1999 (Signatory)

Caol Ila 29 Year Old 1983 - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 53.80%
Caol Ila

This Caol Ila boasts an incredible twenty-nine years of cask ageing and is a stupendous Islay whisky being both smoky and graceful in equal quantities. This whisky was bottled by Duncan Taylor…  More info

Caol Ila 29 Year Old 1983 - Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

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