Countries, Food & Wine, UK

Islay – isle of whisky

If I have to be locked up for the next month then just give me the keys to a distillery in Scotland’s whisky isle.

Scotland’s islands are in a lower tier than the rest of us and all eight distilleries on the 25-mile long distillery are closed to us

But not I should imagine the janitor who has all that golden peaty whisky at his disposal.

For peat’s sake

You, of course, can have whisky on tap and a distillery at your disposal if you rent out a function room.

And that’s social distancing for you

For, say, a humanist/Buddhist!/Scottish wedding reception.

The kimonos and kilties were waving in the wind and the sake and whisky were flowing at Ardbeg’s for Stewart and Hisayo’s big day.

Cornering the market

Islay is a haven in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.

Served by tbe Caley Mac ferry, Caledonian MacBrayne and Logan Air.

Not out of place in Islay

With only 3,228 guid folk inhabiting the island you’ll see more animals and sea life than human and ain’t that sweet?


is the capital and, of course, it has a distillery too.

And that other staple of island life, the church.

Bowmore’s is distinctive because it is cylindrical with no corners for the de’il, or devil, to hide.

Capital stuff: Bowmore

While there is also one of the best public swimming pools anywhere with a window out onto the Atlantic Ocean.

Now that’s an infinity pool for you!

Wash all over you

Everyone will have their favourite distillery but for sheer location Laphroaig in the harbour is the one for me.

The barrels are kept in the cellar where the sea laps up and seeps through the walls.

To give the whisky its distinctive salty, smoky, seaweedy taste.

Do you want water with that? Laphroaig

For a comprehensive tour of the island’s distilleries until we can get back out there and do it yourself then here’s a Swedish videographer

Or dig into your favourite whiskoiseur’s ramble around the drinking tours of the world.

And back to Islay, just be careful when you’re in the whisky and you have to ride your bike back to your rented house.

I have the scars to prove that it’s best to walk home.

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