Although it costs about the same to make as other whiskies, Islay distillers see the demand for their smoky, peaty whisky and charge what they can. They were always expensive, but in recent years many have skyrocketed in price.
An alternative? Tobermory Distillery on the Isle of Mull produces a peated variety called Ledaig (pronounced La-chag). 46.3%, non-chill-filtered, and no color added.
I purchased this bottle last year and have really bonded with it. First cracked, it had a lot of burnt rubber and twigs with some fresh fruit behind. As the fill level dropped the fruit rose, became a little darker and brought smoked ham. It became a little sweeter, and quite a bit richer and rounder.
Anyone looking for an Ardbeg or Laphroig will be left wanting, but anyone who likes Caol Ila will like this very, very much (I’m looking at you leicester).
The price?...One freakin’ half the cost of a comparable Islay.