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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 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)
$101.82

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)
$54.20

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
1
$77.43

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)
$87.32

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)
$120.76

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)
$45.20

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)
$45.50

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
$330.62

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)
1
$447.40

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)
$208.01

Beach Bonfires 1998 - Wemyss Malts (Laphroaig)

70cl, 46%
Laphroaig

This is a superb whisky from Wemyss Malts and it was distilled at the Laphroaig distillery in 1998. It was aged in a single hogshead before bottling in 2012. With the apt moniker "Beach Bonfires",…  More info

Beach Bonfires 1998 - Wemyss Malts (Laphroaig)
$92.11

Bowmore 15 Year Old 1997 Cask 1903 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 57.10%
Bowmore

A rich, smouldering single cask Bowmore from Signatory's superb Cask Strength Collection... This was distilled on the 13th June 1997 before a 15 year maturation in hogshead number 1903 before…  More info

Bowmore 15 Year Old 1997 Cask 1903 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)
$80.26

Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal - Feis Ile 2009

50cl, 53.60%
Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal was released in celebration of Feis Ile 2009. This rare, one-off whisky was distilled on the 22nd April 1993, and it was aged in sherry wood. A release of 1,000 bottles.  More info

Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal - Feis Ile 2009
$220.39

Caol Ila 30 Year Old 1980 - Old & Rare (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 59.40%
Caol Ila

A beautiful single cask, 30 year old Caol Ila from Douglas Laing's wonderful Old and Rare Platinum Selection. This was distilled in November 1980, and it was matured in a refill hogshead before…  More info

 Caol Ila 30 Year Old 1980 - Old & Rare (Douglas Laing)
$240.07

Bunnahabhain 14 Year Old 1997 - Heavily Peated - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

A heavily-peated Bunnahabhain, the Islay distillery known for producing lightly peated drams. This has been bottled by Signatory, and it's really rather good.  More info

Bunnahabhain 14 Year Old 1997 - Heavily Peated - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)
1
$61.11

Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin

70cl, 51.20%
Laphroaig

Cairdeas means frienship in Gaelic, a fitting moniker for a bottling relased to celebrate the distillery's popular friends programme. It's really rather good.  More info

Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin
7
$143.24

Port Ellen 32 Year Old 1979 - 12th Release (2012 Special Release)

70cl, 52.50%
Port Ellen

It’s a Port Ellen, it’s rare and everyone wants some but well… it’s easy to see why. Bottled from a mixture of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks at 52.5%abv and with an impressive thirty-two years of…  More info

Port Ellen 32 Year Old 1979 - 12th Release (2012 Special Release)
4
$1625.76

Bruichladdich 40 Year Old

70cl, 43.10%
Bruichladdich

A release of just 500 bottles, this 40 year old is the oldest bottling one can find from the Bruichladdich distillery, only 100 bottles have been allocated for the UK market.  More info

Bruichladdich 40 Year Old

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

50cl, 48.70%
Bowmore

This is the first batch of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Bowmore. This offering is a peaty style with a sherried streak running right through the middle of it. ‘That Boutique-y Whisky Company’…  More info

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

Bowmore 25 Year Old (old bottling)

70cl, 43%
Bowmore

A 2007 release of 25 year old whisky from the Bowmore distillery. The older whiskies used in this single malt were aged in predominantly sherry casks and this has brought a lovely roundness with…  More info

Bowmore 25 Year Old (old bottling)
1
$240.07

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