Islay

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You can’t move on Islay without accidentally bumping into a distillery as there are eight of them on a 230 square mile section of land! What’s more, there will be another two distilleries in the very near future named Port Charlotte and Gartbreck. It is estimated that Gartbreck will start distillation in 2015 so we won’t see the fruits of their labour for some years yet, although sources suggest that they will exclusively create heavily peated single malts. Port Charlotte is owned by Bruichladdich who produce a whisky by the same name. It was scheduled for construction in 2009 but was held back due to the economic downturn. Now that plans have been put into action, it appears it will be a dead heat as to which distillery opens first! Single malt whisky from Islay has attracted a near cult following over the years, from the small farm distillery of Kilchoman to mighty behemoths like Ardbeg and the closed distillery of Port Ellen.


Islay is commonly known for producing the strongest flavoured whiskies in all of Scotland with an emphasis on extreme peat and an idiosyncratic medicinal quality. This is due to the terroir of the land which is composed of rotting, compacted peat and moss which is used as fuel for drying out the barley. The salt from the sea carries inland along with the pungent odour of seaweed, soaking the peaty ground and infiltrating the warehouses where the maturing whisky is stored. The three southern Ileach powerhouse distilleries of Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin epitomise this style perfectly with their intense smoky flavour, overriding peatinees and iodine like medicinal finish. They really are Marmite drams, the polar opposite of the gentle Speyside offerings, making people either love them or hate them with equal aplomb. The lost distillery of Port Ellen, which closed in 1983, also falls into this category and its remaining whisky is a highly valuable and much coveted commodity. Most of the islands’ malting still occurs at Port Ellen, with barley prepared to the various specifications of the distilleries.


Not all whisky from the island is quite as powerful however; the imposing centrally located Bowmore distillery and northern Cao Ila are still imbued with a smoky peatiness, but not to the utmost degree as is the case with the southern distilleries. Kicholman is the only inland distillery and also produces peaty whisky in line with this slightly more sedate style. The other two northern distilleries are a completely different prospect with their lighter, nutty style. Bunnahabhain maintains this style through the use of unpeated barley and the use of fresh spring water from Margadale Springs, which miraculously manages to avoid contact with the peat beds. Bruichladdich is sheltered from the elements by the mountainous terrain of the Rhinns and also uses lightly or unpeated barley and fresh water. However, they are a slightly maverick distillery who likes to take varying approaches to whisky distillation. As such, they have recently started making Octomore which is a heavily peated dram. As mentioned previously, they also produce the excellent Port Charlotte, which is a mid-range peated whisky. Without exception, all Islay malts possess a dry finish.

  • Bowmore 9 years old Sherry Cask Matured 40% 70cl
    A new addition to the Bowmore range, this 9 year old has spent its life in a combination of Sherry and Bourbon casks from No.1 vaults. It has a lovely deep mahogany colour for a young whisky. On the nose there is cocoa, spice and Christmas cake with smoke. The palate is complex with rich dark fruits and sweet smoke balanced by sea salt and peat smoke.
    £28.50
  • Bowmore Small Batch Bourbon Cask Matured 40% 70cl
    This small batch Bowmore from Islay, has been matured in two different types of cask. First fill Bourbon casks offer spicy vanilla sweetness while second fill bourbon enhances Bowmore's fruity complexity with honey and creamy malt character.
    £28.99
  • Ileach Peated Islay Malt 40% 70cl
    Ileach is a lovely young, Islay whisky sourced from one of the islands distilleries, but they won't tell you which one. Robust and strong flavours of smoke and a touch of sherry, a great dram which has received rave reviews from whisky critics
    £30.99
  • Bunnahabhain 8 years old Heavily Peated The Macphails Collection 43% 70cl
    This expression of Bunnahabhain has been heavily peated. Salty with a sweet smokiness, bonfire embers. It also shows tropical fruit flavours and milk chcoalate back by the smoke peat on the finish.
    £32.50
  • Laphroaig Select 40% 70cl
    A new entry level Laphroaig made up from selected casks of Quarter cask, PX Cask and triple wood. These are then blended and aged in new American oak cask fro a further six months in their highest warehouse during the summer months to maximise the extraction. Natural peaty flavour enhanced by the various maturations of the differing cask types.
    £35.75
  • Bowmore 12 years old 40% 70cl
    Bowmore's 12 Years Old has received critical acclaim from throughout the whisky world. It won gold medal at both the ISC and IWSC 2009, calling it "beautifully balanced" and "an overall beauty". The late and great Micheal Jackson proclaimed it "remarkably long and complex".

    TASTING NOTES
    Colour: Warm Amber.
    Nose: Subtle notes of lemon and honey are bound together with the distinctive Bowmore smokiness.
    Palate: Warm and delicious with subtle dark chocolate and peat smoke.
    Finish:Long and subtle.

    AWARDS
    International Wine & Spirit Competition
    Trophy Winner.
    International Spirits Challenge
    Gold Medal.
    £36.99
  • Smokehead Single Islay Malt 43% 70cl
    Smokehead is a rich, seaweedy and intensely peaty whisky. The flavour is fresh and immense, with notes of sherry, Iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt all fighting for recognition.
    70cl 43% vol
    £36.99
  • Port Askaig 8 years old 45.8% 70cl
    A delicious 8 year old single malt from Islay, Called Port Askaig after the local harbour of the same name. Probably produced at the island's largest distillery with sweet fruit and bonfire on the beach.
    £38.99
  • Bruichladdich Scottish Barley The Classic Laddie 50% 20cl
    A baby size bottle of Bruichladdich's uber provinence Scottish barely and bottled unchilfiltered at 50% vol. This has been unpeated and is part or their core range giving the ultimate expression of Bruichladdich single malt
    £12.99
  • Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated Bruichladdich 50% 20cl
    A baby size bottle of Port Charlotte Heavily Peated Islay single malt has been made using exclusively Scottish barley which is peated to 40ppm and bopttled at 50% vol. The ideal size to dip you toe into the peaty water of Islay!
    £19.79
  • Bruichladdich Islay Barley 50% 20cl
    Bruichladdies new Islay barley comes from the Rockside farm distilled in 2007 and bottles at 50% vol. This particluar malt uses Optic Barley from Mark and Rohaise French's Farm on the west coast of Islay.
    A rich and robust dram, with a profound maltiness. A very pure whisky, with depth and complexity for such a young spirit.
    £19.99
  • Bowmore 1996 9 years old Murray McDavid 46% 70cl
    Murray McDavid Bottling
    Cask Type: Bourbon/Syrah
    Enhanced by: Guigal Hermitage Rouge casks
    £29.21
  • Caol Ila 1998 Connoisseurs Choice 43% 70cl
    Caol Ila has remained almost a secret Islay malt. The Name is pronouced 'cull-eela', gaelic for 'sound of Islay'. The distillery is located in a cove near Port Askaig.

    Distilled September 1998
    Bottled June 2010
    Nose: Sweet and fresh with a delicate smoke.

    Palate: Mouth warming, sweet and creamy.

    Body:Light

    Finish: Lingering.

    Cask Type: First fill & refill sherry casks.
    £33.99
  • Bruichladdich The Organic Ed. 2.10 Mid Coul 46% 70cl
    Bruichladdich Organic Edition 2.10 has been made using Scottish organic barley from Mid Coul Coulmore, mains of Tullibardine farms. Bottled at their usual strnegth of 46% vol.
    £35.99
  • Port Charlotte An Turas Mor Bruichladdich 46% 70cl
    DISTILLED AT BRUICHLADDICH DISTILLERY SINCE 2001 IT CELEBRATES THE ORIGINAL HARVEY-ERA SPIRIT PRODUCED FROM 1881 TO BEFORE WWII.
    AN TURAS MOR: QUITE LITERALLY, MEANS THE GREAT JOURNEY. AND FOR THOSE THAT HAVE WALKED WITH US ON THE ODYSSEY OF THIS BOLD AND PURPOSEFUL ISLAY SPIRIT, THE ROAD TAKES ANOTHER TURN AND ANOTHER RICH VISTA OPENS OUT BEFORE US.
    FOR US, THIS FEELS LIKE OUR YOUNG ILEACH HAS FINALLY COME OF AGE. WITH PC5, 6, 7 AND 8 WE SHARED WITH YOU THE QUIET AND BEGUILING EVOLUTION OF THIS POWERFUL HEBRIDEAN DRAM. NOW HEAD DISTILLER, JIM MCEWAN, OFFERS US A GLIMPSE OF
    HIS ORIGINAL VISION FOR PORT CHARLOTTE A VATTING OF SELECTED CASKS TO CREATE A DEFINITIVE STATEMENT: CUAIRT BEATHA... THE WALK OF LIFE CONTINUES.
    FOLLOW THE EXTRAORDINARY EVOLUTION BY COMPARING AND CONTRASTING THIS BOTTLING WITH THE EARLIER PC5, 6, 7 AND 8.

    ONE THING IS FOR CERTAIN: EVEN THE MOST EXPERIENCED PEAT LOVERS ARE UNLIKELY TO HAVE ENCOUNTERED ANYTHING QUITE LIKE THIS... SIMPLY BECAUSE PORT CHARLOTTE OFFERS A STYLE OF PEATING DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER - NOT ONLY ON ISLAY, BUT IN THE WORLD. - JIM MURRAY 2010 WHISKY BIBLE IN WHICH PC5, PC5.5 AND PC6 ARE RATED AT 95, 96 AND 96.5
    IF YOU ARE A PEAT-HEAD, WELCOME TO HEAVEN - JSWMS
    £36.99
  • Port Askaig 57.1%vol 70cl
    Bottled at 57.1%vol, Port Askaig Cask Strengths pale straw colour and distinct peaty nose with floral notes are complimented by a full bodied palate with characteristic earthy peat and distinctive coastal notes. The long, powerful smoky finish is considered typical of younger single Islay malt whisky from this part of Islay
    £38.80
  • Laphroaig 11 years old 1999 Signatory UCF 46% 70cl
    This Laphroaig single malt whisky was distilled in 1999 and bottled at 11 years old by Signatory as part of their unchillfiltered range.

    Distilled: 07/07/1999
    Bottled: 02/06/2011
    Cask No. 700037+38
    1 of 715
    Matured in Hogshead
    £39.99
  • Laphroaig 10 years old 40% 70cl
    Laphroaig 10 Year Old is an all-malt Scotch Whisky from the remote island of Islay in the Western Isles of Scotland. Laphroaig, pronounced "La-froyg", is a Gaelic word meaning "the beautiful hollow by the broad bay".

    In making Laphroaig, malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour.

    Laphroaig is best savoured neat, or with a little cool water. Roll it around on your tongue. Release the pungent, earthy aroma of blue peat smoke, the sweet nuttiness of the barley, the delicate heathery perfume of Islay's streams. It is as unique as the island itself.
    £39.99
  • Caol Ila Cask strength 61.6% 70cl
    Caol ila pronounced "cull eela" meaning sound of Islay.
    The cask strength version is probably between 8 to 10 years old showing all the smoky spiciness that is typical of this distillery. Smoky dry and intense with aromas of the sea air.
    £40.74
  • Bruichladdich Organic 2003 46% 70cl
    The long awaited release of Bruichladdich Organic ANNS AN T-SEANN DOIGH
    The clock turned back to a simpler age - Stunning! Limited Release of 15000 numbered bottles.
    £40.99
  • Elements of Islay Lg2 58% vol 50cl
    Lg1 comes from a distillery on the southern coast with a history of arguing with its neighbours. Oaty initially, with a massive coal and kipper burst on the palate and a big warming finish.
    £41.99
  • Bruichladdich Scottish Barley 50% 70cl
    New uber provinence from Bruichladdich using Scottish barely and bottled unchilfiltered at 50% vol. This has been unpeated and is part or their core range giving the ultimate expression of Bruichladdich single malt
    £41.99
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