Best Islay Scotch: 5 Smoky Bottles to Try

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Maybe you’ve been wondering about the best Islay Scotch out there. We have, too. So we listened to what a couple of Scotch enthusiasts had to say about the subject. We hope this handy Islay Scotch list helps you as you shop, gift, pour, and sip. Happy ‘dramming’, friends!

What Makes It an “Islay”?

Off the west coast of Scotland lies the island of Islay. It’s for sure one of the planet’s whisky capitals. A bucket list destination. A whisky wonder. If your whisky hails from this remote part of the world, you have yourself an Islay Scotch. Miraculous Islay Scotch.

5 Best Islay Scotch Bottles for You

Despite the myths surrounding Islay Scotch, beginners can get down with this special dram. They’re not all ultra-strong and smoky. You’ll meet with plenty of smooth, rich, unpeated, and even fruity flavors. The best way to see if Islay is for you is to try for yourself. Here are five bottles we can get behind. Four of them are recommended by @no_bad_whiskey:

“There are four Islays I love… and even though they are made feet apart, they might as well be from different planets. They are identifiably Islays and that’s where the similarities stop. It demonstrates one of the most wonderful things about whisky. A few basic ingredients and you can have an infinite number of amazing results.”

Follow @no_bad_whiskey and @whiskeyregister now for more recs. Their information here is certainly pointing us all in the right Islay direction.

1) Laphroaig 10

A bottle of Laphroaig 10
Laphroaig 10 | Recommended by @no_bad_whiskey

“I love this damn bottle.”

2) Lagavulin 12

Best islay scotch - Lagavulin 12
Lagavulin 12 | Recommended by @no_bad_whiskey

“If you haven’t had Twelve, well… go have some. The nose belies the fact that this is cask strength. It’s airy and peaty and all Lagavulin. The palate is lemon and peat and alcohol, closing with that peaty salty sugar that is Lagavulin. It’s Eight but bigger. It’s Sixteen but more intense. Sixteen should be in everyone’s home bar, but Twelve should be hidden in a closet to break out and share with your closest friends.”

3) Lagavulin 16

A bottle of Lagavulin 16
Lagavulin 16 | Recommended by @no_bad_whiskey

“My absolute favorite bottle. The dram I raise to celebrate or sip to commiserate. The first Scotch I fell in love with. One of the few drams I can truly remember the first time I had it.”

4) Ardbeg Corryvreckan

Best islay scotch - Ardbeg Corryvreckan
Ardbeg Corryvreckan | Recommended by @no_bad_whiskey

“If you haven’t had Corryvreckan, this is a must-buy. This is amongst my favorite Islays, Scotches, and whiskies. It’s approachable, yet has an amazing depth of flavor, while still a true Islay through and through.”

5) Ardbeg Uigeadail

A bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail
Ardbeg Uigeadail | Recommended by @whiskeyregister

“If you’re looking for a good Islay that changes in your glass every few minutes, this is it.”

Islay Is the Way

Do you have your own opinion about the best Islay Scotch? Share it with us below in the comments section. We’d appreciate hearing about what you like. Give us the gritty, smoky details. Thanks in advance.

And don’t go the Islay Scotch journey alone. Ever. Our decanters and whiskey glasses make terrific, unique, and classy companions you can count on for years to come. They’re handcrafted and timeless. Perfect for gifts to others or to yourself. We hope you’ll check them out.

And before you head out, see our article on Best Affordable Scotch. This will give you even more ideas about what’s out there, waiting for you to step up and try!


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Each decanter is handcrafted and hand-blown, formed into designs limited only by imagination. We never skip steps to cut costs either. Instead, our decanters are made the hard way because quality takes effort and that’s what you deserve. Whether you are looking for a statement piece for your home bar or shopping for something elegant for that special loved one, our decanters are always a timeless gift. If you're searching for style, inspired craftsmanship, and a transformative piece of art that also elevates the flavor profile of your favorite wines and spirits, look no further.

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