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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.

Laphroaig 14 Year Old 1998 Cask 9227 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Laphroaig

This was distilled at the Laphroaig distillery in October 1998 before a 14 year maturation in a single refill hogshead. It was bottled for the Old Malt Cask range in December 2012 and there are just…  More info

Laphroaig 14 Year Old 1998 Cask 9227 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Caol Ila 1995 Madeira Wood Finish - Private Collection (Gordon & Macphail)

70cl, 45%
Caol Ila

Distilled at Coal Ila distillery in 1995 and finished in Madeira casks, this Islay single malt was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for their Private Collection range.  More info

Caol Ila 1995 Madeira Wood Finish - Private Collection (Gordon & Macphail)

Bowmore 25 Year Old 1984 - Rare Select (Montgomerie's)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

This was distilled at Bowmore on the 12th March 1984 and it was aged in cask M427 for 25 years before bottling in July 2009 by Montgomerie's.  More info

Bowmore 25 Year Old 1984 - Rare Select (Montgomerie's)

Bruichladdich 19 Year Old 1991 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 50.1%
Bruichladdich

This Bruichladdich was distilled before the distillery was moth-balled and reopened. Berry Brothers and Rudd of St James', London, bottled this particular Bruichladdich in 2011.  More info

Bruichladdich 19 Year Old 1991 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$82.89

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old (Old Bottle) (Auction Item)

75cl, 40%
Bunnahabhain

And old (and by proxy, rare) bottle of Bunnahabhain 12. This was bottled back in those heady times when whisky came in 75cl bottles.  More info

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old (Old Bottle) (Auction Item)
2

Bowmore 14 Year Old 1997 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

This was distilled at Bowmore on the 13th June 1997, and it was aged for 14 years in hogsheads 1906 and 1907 before bottling on the 13th June 2011. A release of 779 numbered bottles from Signatory.  More info

Bowmore 14 Year Old 1997 - Un-Chillfiltered (Signatory)

Wemyss Honey Spice 1991 (Bunnhabhain)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

Honey Spice from Wemyss Malts is a tasty Bunnahabhain matured in first fill sherry casks and bottled at 46%.  More info

Wemyss Honey Spice 1991 (Bunnhabhain)
$85.80

Port Ellen 25 Year Old (cask 2471) (Old Bothwell)

70cl, 51%
Port Ellen

Distilled at Port Ellen distillery on Islay in 1982, this Old Bothwell single cask release comes from one of the most sought after distilleries of all time. When Diageo sought to shut down one of…  More info

Port Ellen 25 Year Old (cask 2471) (Old Bothwell)
$441.33

Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2006

70cl, 50%
Bruichladdich

Bere barley is one of the oldest cereal crops in Britain. It may have been brought over by the Vikings in the 9th century and has been grown ever since, having been used in single malt whiskies…  More info

Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2006
7
$39.80

Caol Ila 16 Year Old 1996 (cask 9512) - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Caol Ila

A 16 year old Caol Ila distilled in September 1996 and matured in cask 9512. This Islay whisky was bottled in February 2013 by Douglas Laing as part of their Old Malt Cask Range.  More info

Caol Ila 16 Year Old 1996 (cask 9512) - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Laphroaig 15 Year Old 1996 - Directors' Cut (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 57.2%
Laphroaig

A beautiful cask-strength single malt from the Laphroaig distillery. This was distilled in October 1996 and aged for 15 years in a refill hogshead before bottling for the Director's Cut range in…  More info

Laphroaig 15 Year Old 1996 - Directors' Cut (Douglas Laing)

Bunnahabhain 10 Year Old 2001 Sherry (cask 7861) - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Bunnahabhain

A sherry-matured 10 year old Bunnahabhain from Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask range. This was distilled in December of 2001 and bottled in 2011 at the "preferred strength of 50%". Lovely stuff.  More info

Bunnahabhain 10 Year Old 2001 Sherry (cask 7861) - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012 Release

70cl, 46%
Kilchoman

Machir Bay is a gorgeous sherry-finished malt from Islay's newest distillery, Kilchoman. This was released in 2012 and is made up of 60% 3 year old, 35% 4 year old and 5% 5 year old whisky. All were…  More info

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012 Release
5
$39.80

Bruichladdich 21 Year Old 1990 (cask 8937) - Directors' Cut (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 57.1%
Bruichladdich

This was distilled at the Bruichladdich distillery in October 1990 before a 21 year maturation in a single cask (refill sherry butt number 8837). It was bottled for the Directors Cut range in 2012,…  More info

Bruichladdich 21 Year Old 1990 (cask 8937) - Directors' Cut (Douglas Laing)

Ardbeg - Batch 3 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

50cl, 49.8%
Ardbeg

This is the stunning Batch 3 of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's Ardbeg - it's a superb little whisky which flaunts the beautiful house style with more than a hint of sweet sherry too. The label…  More info

Ardbeg - Batch 3 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
1

Caol Ila 17 Year Old 1990 - Mackillop's Choice

70cl, 56.3%
Caol Ila

A Mackillop's Choice Caol Ila 17 Year Old, distilled on 8 February 1990 and bottled in May 2007 at cask strength. It is, of course, non-chill filtered.  More info

Caol Ila 17 Year Old 1990 - Mackillop's Choice

Caol Ila 24 Year Old 1984 - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)

70cl, 46%
Caol Ila

A 24 year old single malt from the Caol Ila distillery on Islay and bottled in 2008 by the Vintage Whisky Co. as part of The Coopers Choice range.  More info

Caol Ila 24 Year Old 1984 - The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)
$255.90

Caol Ila 18 Year Old 1994 - Sassicaia Wood Finish - Private Collection (Gordon & MacPhail)

70cl, 45%
Caol Ila

An 18 year old red wine finished Caol Ila from superb bottler Gordon & MacPhail.  More info

Caol Ila 18 Year Old 1994 - Sassicaia Wood Finish - Private Collection (Gordon & MacPhail)

Bunnahabhain 32 Year Old 1980 (cask 4390) - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 51.4%
Bunnahabhain

Distilled on 28th March 1980 at Bunnahabhain on Islay, this single cask whisky from Signatory spent over 32 years in an ex-sherry cask before bottling on 5th December 2012 at natural cask strength.  More info

Bunnahabhain 32 Year Old 1980 (cask 4390) - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

Br2 - Elements of Islay (Bruichladdich)

50cl, 49.3%
Bruichladdich

The second release from this distillery in the Elements of Islay range, Br2 carries on from the regular characteristics of the distillery with a fruity and honeyed dram.  More info

Br2 - Elements of Islay (Bruichladdich)
$57.69

Bruichladdich Laddie Five-O Feis Ile 2013

700cl, 47.7%
Bruichladdich

STRICTLY ONE PER CUSTOMER Bruichladdich's Fèis Ìle 2013 festival bottling was a tribute to Jim McEwan's impressive “50 years of whisky creation”. A vatting of various selected vintages, just 700…  More info

Bruichladdich Laddie Five-O Feis Ile 2013
1
$159.03

Bunnahabhain 37 Years Old 1974 - Old & Rare Collection (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 57.6%
Bunnahabhain

This is a sherry cask Bunnahabhain bottled at a staggering thirty-seven years of age by Douglas Laing for their fantastic Old & Rare Collection. Bunnahabhains from the 1970s tend to be particularly…  More info

Bunnahabhain 37 Years Old 1974 - Old & Rare Collection (Douglas Laing)

Bowmore 13 Year Old 1997 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Bowmore

A 13 year old Bowmore distilled in May 1997 and aged in a single refill hogshead before bottling by Douglas Laing in February 2011. This comes from the Old Malt Cask range, and there are just 297…  More info

Bowmore 13 Year Old 1997 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Bowmore 1994 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

70cl, 46%
Bowmore

A smoky single malt distilled at Bowmore in 1994 and bottled by BBR.  More info

Bowmore 1994 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
$63.17

Bonfire Embers 1997 - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)

70cl, 46%
Bunnahabhain

This is a single malt whisky bottled by Wemyss Malts. Wemyss originally dealt in wine, as such they are taking a vintner's approach to selecting whisky. Wemyss name their single malt whiskies…  More info

Bonfire Embers 1997 - Wemyss Malts (Bunnahabhain)
$75.59

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