Islay whiskies are known for their peatiness, although not all the distilleries on the island produce this style - Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain have little or no peat in their standard expressions and Caol Ila produce an unpeated batch every year, while even the famously smoky Ardbeg has an unpeated expression, Blasda. Read More »
A mystery Islay single malt from an unnamed distillery, purported by many to be Lagavulin, which somehow seems a little unlikely to us. That said, this is a terrific dram for the money and likely to appeal to frugal peatheads.
A bottle of Bowmore 12 year old with free water jug. The whisky has a place in many hearts as Islay's 'medium-peated' malt. A pronounced iodine character with plenty of pepper, yet the malt is balanced and smooth as well as smoky.
Laphroaig Select is aged in a combination of Oloroso sherry butts, American white oak (we suspect some of this is virgin oak), hogsheads seasoned with Pedro Ximenez, quarter casks and first fill bourbon casks. This results in a restrained and toned down version of this Islay classic.
Laphroaig 10yo is a full-bodied, smoky gem, with a residual sweetness and a hint of salt amidst the seaweedy, peaty characters before a long warming finish. A classic dram. IWSC 2012 - Gold Medal - Whisky - Scotch
A giant leap forward for Bunnahabhain 12yo, this edition was launched in summer 2010 with a jump in strength to 46.3% and a declaration of no chill-filtration and no added colouring. Enormous credit goes to Burn Stewart for giving punters what they want without jacking up the price too much and we earnestly hope that this will be a massive success. Bravo!
World Whiskies Awards 2014: Best Islay Single Malt 12yo and Under
Bowmore's Small Batch Reserve is matured in first and second fill ex bourbon casks, resulting in a sweet, spicy and smoky whisky. This is a lighter example of Bowmore and an excellent starting point for Islay whiskies.
A vibrant young Laphroaig whose maturation has been speeded up by ageing in Quarter Casks. This shows soft sweetness and a velvety feel when first tasted, then the intense peatiness so unique to Laphroaig comes bursting through. A really terrific whisky and great value.
The third release of Kilchoman's ongoing Machir Bay whisky, bottled in early 2014. It's a vatting of five and six year old whisky matured in first fill bourbon casks, married and then finished in Oloroso sherry butts for four weeks before bottling.
For peat-lovers, Ardbeg 10yo is probably the highest-quality 'entry-level' single malt on the market, and the distillery many Islay connoisseurs would choose as their favourite. A whirlwind of peat and complex malty flavours.