Hot Islay Deals

I’ll never forget this night. It’s the night that David OG and I first arrived on Islay and met Bowmore ambassador Jamie MacKenzie for what would become the greatest night of our whisky tasting lives. I’m pretty sure I can speak for David on this front—we were drinking 1960s Bowmore from a flask on the shores of Islay at 2 AM, after a night of oysters, locally-raised lamb, and a full-scale tour through the distillery at midnight. God, do I love Bowmore whisky. It’s probably my favorite distillery on Islay for sentimental reasons surrounding this particular evening, but I’m not alone in that summation. Ask any master distiller in Scotland what their favorite whisky is (besides their own) and they’ll probably say Bowmore. It doesn’t necessarily wow you right away, but over time it becomes clear that there’s a level of complexity to the whisky that simply amazes once you work your way up the Scotch learning curve.

Sadly, Bowmore doesn’t enjoy the same reputation here in the states that it does abroad. American whisky drinkers are far more passionate for Ardbeg, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig, than they are for Bowmore. Bowmore gets lumped down their with Bunnahabhain for maybe the least favorite Islay distillery for some reason. Nevertheless, David and I keep buying casks of Bowmore because we love it, and every time we go to Scotland we share that sentiment with the people we meet. Especially the boys at Signatory. They LOVE Bowmore. But, alas, you can’t force anyone to love anything. So we’re going to have to start moving out one of our Signatory casks of Bowmore to make room for the impending arrivals.

Today you get a whisky for almost half price! BUY A FREAKING CASE!!!!!!

Bowmore 12 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (WAS $109.99) NOW $58.99 - We absolutely killed it with the '02 Hogshead at 46% this year, but we're not done with Bowmore. This distillery is cranking out the most magnificent malt and Signatory gets these amazing high quality butts. This is more consistent with the house style than the last cask, bringing the nutty sherry slightly more to the foreground. It's a stark reminder that Bowmore should be considered one of Scotland's greatest distilleries. Treat this with the reverence it deserves and this whisky will make you feel like you're the special one instead of the other way around.

Since we’re discounting some serious Islay whisky, let’s not stop now. Let’s keep the momentum going:

I remember this day well, as well. We hung out all afternoon with Laphroaig master distiller John Campbell and shoveled peat into the kiln. I left Laphroaig that day with a respect for the single malt distillery that was unparalleled. Laphroaig is truly the original Islay single malt. It’s the icon, the tried and tested stalwart that never needs reinventing. When we purchased this refill sherry butt of Laphroaig, we new it was expensive. But then the sister cask won Islay Whisky of the Year from the Whisky Advocate and we were vindicated.

Unfortunately we then had another 300+ bottles to sell after that. Laphroaig casks are NOT cheap. But that’s our burden to deal with, not yours. Take advantage.

Laphroaig 15 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (WAS $160) NOW $126.99 - Des McCagherty is a man of few words, but when he said to us, "You might want to load up on Laphroaig this year," we listened. Apparently, this is one of the most difficult and costly distillates to purchase on the independent market and stocks are depleting faster than ever from Signatory's Pitlochry warehouse. A yearly barrel of two of Laphroaig at K&L has become commonplace since we started our barrel program and we don't want that to change -- at least not while we can help it. That's why we snagged this 15 year old sherry butt of peaty goodness, full of big smoke, cinnamon, tar, and brine, but rounded out by a rich, sherry-laden note that fans of Laphroaig's PX edition will recognize. That combination of sweet and peat is one of the most popular flavor profiles on the market right now, which always adds a few dollars to the cost. In this case, it's fully worth it. The sherry adds the perfect raisiny balance to the bold, ashy flavors of the 61% spirit. If you've already loaded your cabinet with numerous, collectable bottles from Islay's iconic distillery, then I won't say that this bottle will offer anything new to your selection. However, if you've been taking mature, full proof, relatively-affordable, single barrel expressions of Laphroaig for granted, you might want to start thinking about snagging a few of these. That's what we did, at least.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll