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 »
X4 is Bruichladdich's quadruple-distilled experimental revival of usquebaugh-baul, the 'perilous spirit'. Having come off the stills at around 90%, this much-discussed distillate has now reached three years of age and can be called whisky. Bottled at an eye-watering 63.5%.
Bottled in 2012, this 1996 edition of Lagavulin's Distillers Edition (probably the most sought after in the range) combines the regular rich, peat smoke that the distillery is known for with a finishing period in sweet Pedro Ximenez sherry casks for even more depth of flavour.
A 1999 vintage Laphroaig from independent bottler Hunter Laing as part of their Old Malt Cask series. Distilled in March, it was aged in refill butt 10167 for 15 years before 292 bottles were yielded in June 2014.
Another outstanding single cask cask-strength Bowmore from Signatory. Just about everything in this 'Cask Strength Collection' series has been very good and several have been exceptional. Distilled on June 13 1997 and aged for 16 years in hogsheads 1916 and 1917, this was bottled on February 19 2014.
A special edition gift pack from Bowmore, combining their sherried 15 year old 'Darkest' whisky with a pair of interesting shaped tumblers and a wooden stopper, to top your bottle with a bit more class than a regular cork.
A 17 year old Caol Ila from Hunter Laing's Old Malt Cask range, distilled back in September 1996 and bottled in April 2014. This is a bit of a fruity number, backed up by classic Islay peat smoke and the distillery's coastal character.
A 1990 vintage Laphroaig bottled by indie bottler Montgomerie's in July 2009 at 18 years of age. This was distilled in the early days of legendary former manager Iain Henderson's reign at the distillery.
This is a cask strength edition of the wonderful Port Askaig 19 year old, bursting with fabulously flinty, lemony, seashells-on-the-sea-shore flavours. Although the alcoholic strength has only gone up around 4%, the result is a very noticeable jump in flavour intensity. A truly elemental whisky, perfect for swigging from hipflasks during cold winter walks.
As reliably excellent as ever, the 2011 Special Releases Lagavulin 12yo was distilled in 1999 and vatted from refill American oak casks. As you'd expect, this is a very upfront, sooty-sweet Lagavulin in the classic style. World Whiskies Awards 2012 - Best Islay 12 years and under