Islay Single Malt Whisky

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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.

  • Bruichladdich Links St.Andrews 46%
    Bruichladdich Links St Andrews, the Old Course is the First edition in the Links series to celebrate famous gold courses arounf the world.
    £302.38
  • Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2002 43% 70cl
    Caol Ila Distillers edition whisky was distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2014 The whisky has been double matured, first in America oak casks then a second maturation in casks which previously held Moscatel wine. This second casks adds a lovely sweet note to the smoke and peat of Caol ila single malt whisky..
    £64.99
  • Ardbeg 1974 50.7% vol cask no. 4989 70cl
    Dsitillery Bottling
    :Cask No. 4989
    Cask Type: Bourbon
    1 of 132 bottles
    Signed by Dr WB Lumsden Master Distiller
    £2,000.00
  • Bowmore 18 years old 70cl
    Bowmore's 18 Years Old is one of the finest malts in its range. Matured in oak casks for over 18 years, the classic Bowmore smokiness is perfectly balanced with soft fruits and chocolate. A wonderful dram.

    TASTING NOTES
    Colour: Mellow Mahogany.
    Nose: Creamy caramel toffee, with ripe fruit and smoke aromas.
    Palate: Incredibly complex, with beautiful soft fruit and chocolate balanced with a light smokiness.
    Finish: Long and wonderfully balanced, enjoy.
    £89.99
  • Octomore 63.5% vol 01.1 5 years old
    The First Edition of the Octomore series 01.1 aged 5 years with a high peat content of 131ppm.
    £400.00
  • Ardbeg Corryvreckan 57.1% 70cl
    Corryvreckan takes its name from the famous whirlpool that lies to the north of Islay, where only the bravest souls dare to venture. Swirling aromas and torrents of deep, peaty, peppery taste lurk beneath the surface of this beautifully balanced dram.

    Like the whirlpool itself, Corryvreckan is not for the faint-hearted!

    Tasting Notes

    Colour
    Deepest amber

    Aroma
    Heady, intense and powerful.

    With the first sniff, encounter the deep and turbulent force of Corryvreckan as it pulls you inwards. Swirl the glass and dip your nose into the torrents of tarry ropes, creosote and linseed oil rising from deep within the vortex. As you succumb to its power, a collision of waxy dark chocolate, warm blackcurrants and muscovado sugar pulls you under its spell with a burst of plump cherries and earthy pine needles leaping from its depths.

    Swirl water into the glass, and observe the magical collision of whisky and water. As the liquid warms up, the seething cauldron bubbles and bursts, as you edge closer to sniff a pot full of gutsy cayenne-peppered steak and oysters smothered in hot pepper sauce. Salty seasoning brings a briny character with tangy crisp seaweed and smoky bacon swirling on the surface with hints of sweet vanilla, spicy cloves and blueberries.

    As the whirlpool narrows and quickens moving ever deeper, surrender to its dangerous depths with the heady force of menthol, treacle and chilli sauce.

    Taste
    Plunge into the whirlpool and taste the mysterious depths of Corryvreckan. Torrents of taste well up on the palate; deep, peppery and chewy, bombarding the tongue with its intense tastes and textures.

    The first plunge brings forth chewy peppered steak soaked in pepper sauce with the tang of crispy seaweed. As you descend deeper, encounter a mouthful of black tarry espresso coffee that coats the palate with rich melted dark fruits (blackcurrants, blueberries and cherries) and bitter almonds. As the taste soaks in deeper, star anise and hickory dry out the palate before a surprise of chalky effervescent violets fizz to the surface.

    Finish
    Long, deep and remaining powerful into the finish with black tarry coffee, chocolate coated cherries and hot pepper sauce, the lingering memories of your mysterious and daring journey into Corryvreckan.
    £71.99
  • Ardbeg 1975 Cask 1378 53.7% vol 70cl
    Distillery Bottling
    Sherry Butt
    Filled 28th March 1975
    Bottled 8th Novemeber 2006
    1 of 453 bottled
    Signed by Dr. WB Lumsden
    £2,000.00
  • Bruichladdich The Laddie Ten 46% 10 years old 2nd Edition
    2nd Edition of the popular Bruichladdich 10 years old has a mellow, oak sweetness is welcoming as are hints of bourbon and gingerbread, sherry and sultanas; and as they move on, there are the lighter, icing sugar-coated fruits. Its fresh and frictionless, the texture of warm honey - then dry, crispy, malt barley; together with the oak they merge beautifully to cradle the lighter flavours, adding the strong pulse to our long awaited Laddie!
    £52.99
  • Kilchoman Machir Bay 46% 70cl
    Islay's Farm distillery, Kilchoman built in 2005 is the newest distillery on Islay for over 120 years. This 2013 release is a vatting of 4 and 5 years old single malts, with the 4 year old bring finished in Oloroso sherry butts for 4 weeks prior to bottling.
    Strong peaty aromas, with soft complex mixed fruits. Hints of vanilla and tropical fruits with and intense sweetness. It finishes with fresh peat and considerable length.
    £46.99
  • Caol Ila Moch 43% 70cl
    Caol Ila Moch is a new whisky from this Islay Distiller. Its name means 'Dawn' in Gaelic, and as this whisky has been chosen on flavour alone regardless of age or strength it is a rather exciting addition to the range. Clean and fresh on the nose, followed by smoky dry notes of peat. On the palate there is sweetness, then salty with clarity, simplicity and smoothness with classic 'bonfire on the beach'.
    £53.99
  • Ardbeg Day 2012 Bottling 56.7% 70cl
    Ardbeg day bottling 2012 for Committe members only. First released for sale on 2nd June at the Feis Ile 2012 Islay festival and Ardbeg embassy Shops.
    £245.00
  • Auchentoshan 44 years old 1966 40.9% 70cl
    A superb old Auchentoshan Single malt matured in bourbon wood for 44 years, presented in a lovely polished wood box with brush aluminium front and back. Extremley rare and collectible 1 of 10 in the UK. Bottle no 19 of 263.
    £4,125.00
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