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 »
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.
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 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.
An old bottling of 1995 vintage Caol Ila from independent bottler Gordon & Macphail as part of the Private Collection series. This was aged for around a decade, including an unspecified finishing period in ex-Marssala casks, before being bottled in May 2006.
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
A wonderfully fresh, minerally Caol Ila bottled by TWE from a single ex-bourbon cask. Lots of sea air, seaweed and seashells make this the olfactory equivalent of a picnic on the beach. A big hit at 2012's TWE Whisky Show.
A 1989 vintage Bunnahabhain from independent bottlers Berry Brothers and Rudd. Normally unpeated, this single cask is from the small part of the year when Bunnahabhain produce peated malt. Honey and vanilla notes are in abundance here, with a peaty undertone.
The 13th release of Lagavulin 12 year old from Diageo's Special Releases range. A longstanding favourite, this was the biggest and most fully flavoured of the 2013 lineup, and could well be the best 12yo yet.
The latest incarnation of the yearly cask strength 'unpeated' Caol Ila produced as part of Diageo's Special Releases selection. This time it's been aged for 14 years in ex-sherry casks, filled in 1997. There's not a lot of sherried Caol Ila out there and this might be our pick of this year's range.