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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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Laphroaig 25 Year Old
(70cl, 45.10%)
The 25 year old Laphroaig, released in 2007. This is a surprisingly mellow dram from the distillery.  More info
Laphroaig 30 Year Old
(70cl, 43%)
A recent 30 year old release, this is very well-aged by Laphroaig standards. This is rich and powerful, age has brought balance. This won Gold medals at the International Spirits Challenge and the...  More info
This bottling was named for a yellow mini-submarine that was discovered just miles from the distillery, the vessel was clearing mines left from World War Two when a local fisherman discovered it. A...  More info
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Matured largely in American oak, with a little Spanish oak. An increasingly rare first edition, the 15 year old is a great, fresh, lightly-peated offering from Bruichladdich.  More info
From a recently released Ardbeg range showcasing the affects of maturation on 1998-distilled whisky. Starting from Very Young through Still Young and Almost There, Renaissance is the conclusion with...  More info
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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
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$323.95
A very rare 42 year old from the Islay distillery, Bowmore. This single malt has been matured in Oloroso sherry casks and is part of a limited release of just 827 bottles. A legendary dram.  More info
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
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Bowmore 16 Year Old 1989
(70cl, 51.80%)
A cask strength 16 year old, a rare edition from a vatting of 134 casks of 1989 vintage Bowmore, most of the casks were ex-bourbon. The resultant single malt is thick and exudes fruit and floral...  More info
Ardbeg Mor 10 Year Old
(450cl, 46%)
The moniker 'Mór' is Scotch Gaelic for 'Big', rather apt as this 10 year old from the Ardbeg distillery comes in a 4.5 litre bottle. A limited release.  More info
$430.22
This 16 year old was matured in ex-bourbon casks. The rather ominous 'Airigh Nam Beist' derives from the Scotch Gaelic for 'Shelter of the Beast'. Ardbeg describe this as "Ardbeg Icecream" - we...  More info
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The oldest official bottling from the Caol Ila distillery, this 25 year old Islay single malt was released as one of just 6,000 bottles, distilled in 1978 and bottled in 2003 at cask strength.  More info
Caol Ila 25 Year Old
(70cl, 59.40%)
A cask strength expression from the Caol Ila distillery, this 25 year old bottling was matured in refill American and European oak casks and it exudes oily, peaty notes with balancing sweetness.  More info
$206.74
This Natural Cask Strength single malt bottling from the Caol Ila distillery is a surprisingly smooth dram. Oily with pungent smoke and malt.  More info
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Just 12,990 bottles were released, this Caol Ila 8 year old proffers the chance to sample an unpeated malt from the distillery, matured in first fill bourbon casks. There is spice and fruit with a...  More info
Distilled in 1982 and aged for 22 years in refill sherry butts before bottling in 2004 by Gordon and MacPhail. Port Ellen has become a legendary distillery.  More info
This 1996 vintage bottling from Gordon and MacPhail's Connoisseur's Choice is a veritable exhibition of Caol Ila's character, there is a fruity freshness underpinning phenols and a strong coastal...  More info
An 11 year old Caol Ila expression from Gordon and MacPhail's Private Collection, this bottling was matured in Marsala casks and is part of an limited release of just 1,200 bottles.  More info
A limited edition sherry finished single malt from Caol Ila, just 280 bottles were released, distilled in 1984 and bottled in October of 2008 by Gordon and MacPhail, a beautifully balanced whisky from...  More info
Bruichladdich 1991
(70cl, 55.90%)
Distilled in 1991, this cask strength single malt was bottled in May of 2008, having been matured in refill sherry hogsheads, a rare independent bottling from Gordon and MacPhail.  More info
$104.49
A markedly rich bottling from Gordon and MacPhail, this Bunnahabhain single malt was distilled in 1991 and offers some lovely feinty notes with hints of coffee and honey.  More info
Distilled at the Caol Ila distillery in 1996, Gordon and MacPhail matured this in their Elgin-based warehouses in refill sherry casks. The result is a rich, coastal dram, with fruity freshness and...  More info
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$89.35
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
$7728.30
Bowmore 37 Year Old 1968
(70cl, 43.40%)
A 37 year old offering from Bowmore, matured in ex-bourbon casks and presents a rare bottling from an outturn of just 708 bottles. A spicy, oily, slightly vegetal whisky of excellent depth.  More info
A cask strength 34 year old single malt from Bowmore. This was distilled in 1971 and matured in ex-sherry casks before bottling as part of an outturn of just 960 bottles. The colour is rich and dark...  More info
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