islay scotch distilleries

Fittingly, the bad boy of Islay distilleries puts out a 16 Year single malt with a hell of a lot of flavor, heavy in peat and iodine, making it the "love it or hate it" bottle of the island. Every year, at the beginning of June, the brand celebrates Ardbeg Day with the unveiling of a limited one-off release, like Kelpie, a robust and peppery dram featuring liquid aged in virgin casks from the coast of the Black Sea. 1 Vaults, where a whisky thief is dipped into a cask during an enchanted tasting within Scotland’s oldest barrelhouse. James Mutter was also consul of the Ottoman Empire, Brazil and Portugal in Glasgow. Nowadays, the lighter single malt rolling off their lengthy, copper stills is in increasing demand—from connoisseurs and casual consumers alike. Judge for yourself on the Premium Tour, which includes a tasting of the core range (the 100% Islay is estate-produced, from grain to glass), along with specialty cask maturations. "Had an amazing afternoon at the tea room for my sons 18th birthday lunch...surroundings amazing clean,open,lovely calming atmosphere... "... the production process and book special tastings - the hosts are so knowledgeable and friendly - or you can simply relax in the beautiful surroundings and take in the views with a coffee or of course, a wee, Hotels near Bowmore VisitScotland iCentre, Hotels near Islay House Community Gardens, Hotels near (CSA) Colonsay Island Airport, Bunnahabhain Distillery: Tickets & Tours‎, Bruichladdich Distillery: Tickets & Tours‎, See more distilleries in Islay on Tripadvisor, See more distilleries for couples in Islay on Tripadvisor, See more distilleries for groups in Islay on Tripadvisor, See more budget-friendly distilleries in Islay on Tripadvisor, See more romantic distilleries in Islay on Tripadvisor. It’s one hour in length, ending with a leisurely meal of local meats and cheeses paired with multiple expressions from Laphroaig’s expansive arsenal. These are the best places for budget-friendly distilleries in Islay: Which places provide the most romantic distilleries in Islay? Lagavulin 16-year-old is commonly regarded as the quintessential expression of Islay malt. Bruichladdich takes a pronouncedly forward-thinking approach to a very traditional style of whisky. "The tour was led by Dougie Tours and our guide was incredibly knowledge of every aspect of Islay history, from the neolithic settlers to types of trees growing on the island to the founding of the distillery." Scottish Routes is a local outfit that can mold a prolonged day of whisky tasting to your specific desires. Colin and Rodney in the gift, "Only a quick tour, but as we know enough about distilleries already, it was refreshing and highly entertaining to get the stories behind the potted history of the, "I would like to say a huge thank you to Lynn and her team.. what a great days training us guys from the lochside had... it was absolutely fabulous... thanks to Pamela for her tour of the, "Three of us had a really wonderful whisky tasting led by, "The tour was led by Dougie Tours and our guide was incredibly knowledge of every aspect of Islay history, from the neolithic settlers to types of trees growing on the island to the founding of the, "... tour of the distillery very entertaining and imformative, we then enjoyed a dram and did a fantastic, "Enjoyed a lovely , calm and relaxed basic tour led by Emma who is very well informed, positive and patient (even with the know-it-all Dutchman who kept on wandering on his own).Got a. But the distillery’s visual splendor is never up for debate. And all this magic occurs before you’ve even stepped foot into the legendary facility. Power move: After tasting the core lineup, bottle your own single cask straight from the barrel inside the visitors center. Word on the street is that Islay malt is serious stuff: super peaty and tasting all of tar, fish, coal and disinfectant. Past one-offs have utilized sauternes, madeira and port barrels. Harvest time represents the start of the whisky-making process which sees our Kilchoman grown barley malted, distilled, matured and bottled here at the distillery, eventually becoming Islay’s only Single Farm Single Malt Scotch Whisky over 1130 days later. To fully understand how setting impacts spirit, the Warehouse Demonstration is not to be missed. Itinerary. Tours lasting 45 minutes are offered multiple times daily. In the parking lot, standing between the still house and the sea, there’s an exact spot where billowing vapors of new-make spirit converge with briny ocean air into seamless union. The flagship expression, a 10-year-old malt aged in ex-bourbon casks, epitomizes what Islay whisky ought to offer. For the last five years, I’ve been a huge fan of Islay scotch. This distillery, established in 2005, is the closest example the island has to what Americans would call a craft producer. (Another, Gartbreck Distillery, is in the works.) Br Ln Pl Oc Bruichladdich distillery One of two distilleries on the Rhinns of Islay, the western peninsula of the island, Bruichladdich was founded in 1881. There are eight active distilleries and the industry is the island's second largest employer after agriculture Challenging whisky, best tackled by the kind of Scotch drinkers with Ardbeg tattoos and a few army stories. Get our best cocktail recipes, tips, and more when you sign up for our newsletter. Moonshine distilleries Industrial evolution Political evolution The Lowlands The Highlands 4 Distilleries in historical context 1750-1799 1800-1849 1850-1899 After 1900 How to drink whisky Some whisky terms Site plan Forum (French) Bowmore is said to be one of the oldest distilleries … A lofty, glass-encased still-house exposes the mechanical innards, visible from the surrounding Islay Sound. Scotland is home to over 130 malt and grain distilleries, making it the greatest concentration of whisky production in the world. The Premium Tasting & Tour is a 90-minute affair, concluding with a comprehensive sampling flight in the property’s historic cooperage. The style has fallen out of favor in recent years because of its particularly long and slow distillation time, but it’s said to imbue spirits with added texture and complexity. Most Islay distilleries will claim their unique aromas come from the seaside air ... and building the world's first bass drum made from an entire Scotch whisky cask with a … We are local people based in Bowmore on the Isle of Islay and offer bespoke tours for individuals and small groups visiting Islay and Jura. Bunnahabhain is almost criminally under-appreciated in the States. By using Liquor.com, you accept our, Your Essential Cheat Sheet to Scotland’s 5 Scotch Regions, The 14 Best Scotch Whiskies to Drink in 2021, The 15 Best Single Malt Scotch Whiskies to Drink in 2021, The 9 Best Cheap Scotches to Drink in 2021, The Best Scotch of the Month Clubs of 2021, 10 Distilleries and Breweries Where You Can Spend the Night, 11 Virtual Distillery Tours to Take from Your Sofa, Embark on These 5 Distillery Train Excursions, No Chugging Required, 5 Essential Scotch Bottles You Need for Your Home Bar, The 10 Best Japanese Whiskies to Drink in 2021. Any fan of the TV program Parks and Recreation will surely remember the episode where Ron Swanson (played by Nick Offerman) jets off to the Isle of Islay in Scotland to make a pilgrimage to the Lagavulin Distillery.. Islay Distilleries | Ron Swanson’s Guide to Visiting Whisky Island A number of distinctions mark the operation as unique. Today, that number stands at nine. What are the best places for distilleries in Islay? Gated off from the quaint seaside village that lends it its name, Bowmore feels like the Willy Wonka chocolate factory of scotch distilleries. As of 2018, there were 133 Scotch whisky distilleries operating in Scotland.. All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley. The distinct liquid aged here, rich and robust, is markedly less peaty than what you find elsewhere on the island. Guided by a resident whisky maker, you’ll leave with elevated expertise in addition to a belly full of marvelous malt. Lucky for you, Old Kiln Café, located on-site, serves a sensational venison lamb burger surely qualifying as best on the island. Several of the island’s distilleries are currently investing millions into renovating their properties to accomodate new visitors centres and tasting rooms. Islay is home to stunning scenery, ancient history and traditional culture. These places are best for distilleries in Islay: Which places provide the best distilleries in Islay for couples? Islay … The barrelhouse manager draws samples from a series of casks, ranging successively upward in maturity, as you taste your way through the aging process in real time. Islay, Old Norse for Yula’s isle, is the home to such popular distillers as Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg. You’ve been warned. These are the best places for groups seeking distilleries in Islay: Which places provide the best distilleries in Islay for travelers on a budget? Welcome to Islay Whisky Tours and Bowmore Taxi Service. The island’s youngest distillery, Ardnahoe’s first distillation runs began in autumn 2018. Power move: Book a stay one block away at Harbour Inn. The Scottish Isle of Islay, also referred to as Queen of the Hebrides, has 9 working whisky distilleries, stunning scenery, amazing wildlife, fabulous beaches and a lot more. First recorded distillery Bowmore 1779 What is an Islay? Islay is one of five whisky distilling localities and regions in Scotland whose identity is protected by law. This is Islay, a rugged, windswept terrain off the country’s southwestern coast that’s home to the boldest flavors in all of scotch-making. Caol Ila also uses their whisky in a number of blended whiskies (different from blended malt whiskies) that are sold around the world. These are the best places for couples seeking distilleries in Islay: Which places provide the best distilleries in Islay for groups? Scotch whisky contributes nearly £5 billion to the UK economy every year as well as 40,000 jobs – many of which are in the growing scotch tourism industry*. Abutting the southern shoals of the island is this iconic 200-year-old distillery. Discover some of Scotland’s Finest Whisky Distilleries. During the island’s 18th-century heyday, it was home to 23 distilleries. Brewing and distilling both demand malted barley as their key ingredient. Traditionally, much of that juice made its way into blended whisky on the mainland. During the island’s 18th-century heyday, it was home to 23 distilleries. Plan accordingly, particularly during the high season (April through September). Today, we still have ten working whisky distilleries (nine on Islay and one on Jura) producing some of the most popular and certainly most uniquely flavoured single malt whiskies in the world. This tiny island boasts eight distilleries each with its own unique smokey character, offering a chance to try the varying styles of peated whisky. The distillery is the only one on Islay and among just a handful in all of Scotland to still use the traditional style of worm tub condenser, in which large copper coils submerged in tanks of cold water allow the vapor to condense gradually. It’s the only true farm distillery in the country, utilizing grain grown and malted on site, and the liquid runs off the smallest stills in all of Scotland. Southern Islay Distilleries. Islay scotch is known for its “harsher” profile. 9 Tour was an amazing experience!! more. Islay is home to a current eight distilleries which include Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin and Laphroaig. The Ultimate Bowmore Experience includes a visit to its No. The southern distilleries - Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin, also referred to as the Kildalton Distilleries, and Port Ellen (the latter was closed in 1983) - are the most powerful, producing medium-bodied whiskies, saturated with peat-smoke, brine and iodine. Each chocolate is selected to highlight the dark, roasted components of its complementing whisky. Stewart’s two sons, Andrew and Scott, are following in their father’s footsteps – making Ardnahoe a wholly family-owned business: a rarity in today's scotch whisky industry. The sort of people who’ve got bored of mainland hooch and gone over to the smoky, dark side. It is often necessary to make arrangements in advance, but many distilleries have extensive visitor facilities and do not require prior warning of a visit. This is, of course, a fiercely contentious claim. Number of active distilleries 9 . Brad Japhe is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles who specializes in food, drinks and travel. Islay blended malts offer a flavor-packed route to the whisky isle without committing to a single distillery, by combining multiple Islay distilleries in one bottle. Whisky & Gin: Around the middle of the 19th century, Islay boasted no less than a dozen distilleries. Scotland is home to more than 100 distilleries. Go with the Maltman’s Platter Lunch Experience. A visit to its sprawling property, toward the northern tip of Islay, will leave you wondering why. Caol Ila is a workhorse, producing more than double the annual output of any other distillery on Islay. In the morning, wake up to a bowl of Bowmore-topped porridge, a local delicacy. (Another, Gartbreck Distillery, is in the works.) It was here, on the island, his love for Islay and its whisky was ignited. Power move: If you’re already familiar with the workings of a distillery, skip the tour and opt instead for the Whisky & Chocolate Pairing, which features five variations of Caol Ila, lined up against artisanal confections. Islay’s distilleries are spread across the island; however, the three on the south coast – Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig – are located next to each other, and are collectively known as the Kildalton Distilleries. The distilleries are located on the coasts, with the most well known found on the southern end (including all those named). From its trademark pear-shaped stills to the setting at the foot of its eponymous bay, Lagavulin has to be seen to be believed. When this historic facility reopened under new ownership at the start of the 21st century, it rebranded itself as Progressive Hebridean Distillers. Power move: Your tour concludes around lunchtime. Rendezvous at the distillery at 9:20 a.m., get booted up and hit the peat banks for a hands-on lesson in how this whisky receives its defining essence. Rather than concerning itself with output, Kilchoman is dedicated to process. An hourlong Warehouse Experience is offered multiple times each day, though operations shutter on Sundays throughout winter. Regardless, with just 3,000 permanent residents, Islay remains, per capita, the most remarkable repository of hallowed drams in all the world. Among them, some of the world’s most prestigious producers of aged spirits. Amazingly, within this crowded landscape of legendary liquor, there exists a specific region prominent enough to distinguish itself as “whisky island.” This is Islay, a rugged, windswept terrain off the country’s southwestern coast that’s home to the boldest flavors in all of scotch-making. The experience is offered every day at 10:30 a.m. Power move: After the tour, hike a short distance along the mouth of Lagavulin Bay to arrive at the steps of Dunyvaig Castle, a 12th-century ruin that affords the most Instagram-worthy panorama of the distillery, dramatically framed across the water. Laphroaig is accused of producing some of the peatiest malts on the planet—a charge the distillery wears like a badge of honor. Liquor.com uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. It’s not just marketing jargon. Its two large copper pot stills, manufactured in Scotland’s northeast by artisans at Speyside Copperworks, are the centerpieces of its bright, airy still room with beautiful vistas of the Sound of Islay. Power move: Book an in-depth tour of the distillery with its manager, Fraser Hughes. These are a combination of different malts from different distilleries. Islay is currently home to eight operational distilleries and the Port Ellen maltings, with a ninth distillery, Ardnahoe, due to fill its first cask in early 2019. It might be just 25 miles long and 15 miles wide, but Islay punches well above its weight for producing single malt Scotch whisky. Experience its unique splendor in addition to several single-cask expressions on the one-hour Warehouse Tasting Tour. The different areas are considered to have some broad characteristics in common due to various factors such as the locations weather, type of water, etc. Yet if whisky isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to see and do. All of this wouldn’t be worth a damn if it didn’t result in truly exceptional whisky. Its maritime barrelhouses dutifully inhale ocean brine, imparting salt and seaweed into every bottle. Diageo , which operates Lagavulin and Caol Ila distilleries on the island, is also working on plans to revive the ‘lost’ distillery of Port Ellen adjacent to the maltings. Airport & ferry transfers and island tours all year round. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. There’s a certain mysticism emanating from this 18th-century edifice, and it’s more than the warm cereal aromas wafting from the active malting floor. These are the most romantic places for distilleries in Islay: "- beautifully maintained, Victorian-era machinery - informative, friendly guide skilled in storytelling and staying on schedule - exquisite and distinctive, "Fantastic welcome, great tour on Thursday morning from a very knowledgeable member of staff with a great sense of humour who even took the time to show us the yellow submarine followed by a, "Great memories we're made, wonderful people were met, delicious, "Laphroaig is right on the water and has the best visitor centre - a wonderful historical centre, a lounge with leather chairs to, "The Warehouse No. Fall in love with Islay, home to some of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries! Today, Islay’s distilleries are fashioning themselves to offer unforgettable educational experiences for those who take the journey to sniff, swirl and sip Scotch. Day 1 After departing Edinburgh, you head north into the Highlands. Laphroaig is one of the few scotch operations with a working malthouse, so it’s worth incorporate a viewing of its malting floor into any tour here. There are nine whisky distilleries on the island, including the most recently opened Ardnahoe Distillery. Over the past 130 years, the distillery has changed hands many times and had frequent closures, but since 2000 it has been reborn, and is yet again at the forefront of Scottish whisky distilling. Because of its exclusive nature, the tour must be booked in advance. The tour ends in the warehouse for a sampling of casks, and you can take home a 20 cL bottle (about seven ounces) of your favorite dram. The Islay Boys Ltd, an award-winning independent bottler of both Blended and Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, is the owner of Islay Ales Ltd. Brewing... and distilling! A visit to Islay must be high on the list for whisky lovers across the world! True believers of local terroir, the distillery sources its malt and peat on the island and ages all of its juice on-site. Islay. Islay whisky is Scotch whisky made on Islay or Ìle in Gaelic, one of the southernmost of the Inner Hebridean Islands located off the west coast of Scotland. The 90-minute Full Range Tour, offered at 10 a.m. daily, Monday through Friday, culminates in a tasting of its main range, alongside two rare cask releases. The selections are constantly rotating, but you’re guaranteed to go home with liquid that rarely makes it off the island. Its flagship bottling comes equipped with a 12-year age statement and an elegant balance of roasted nuts and subtle salinity. While most Islay scotch is the recognizable single malt, there are a few blended malt scotches from Islay as well. Scotch whisky generally comes from 5 different regions in Scotland (Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside, Islands and Islay. Islay is home to eight whisky distilleries, with a ninth on the eve of opening. This tour takes you to a Scottish island paradise. It was founded in 1779 by David Simpson in the capital of the island, Bowmore. The distillery stayed in the Simpson family until 1837 when it was sold to William and James Mutter. Islay Scotch Whisky Pronounced eye-luh, this island has become synonymous with heavily peated and maritime styles of whisky. Today, that number stands at nine. Power move: Just over a mile northeast of the distillery is Saligo Bay, home to Islay’s most stunning beaches. Bowmore is one of the biggest and oldest distilleries from Islay. Many distilleries welcome visits by members of the public. Power move: As one of the most remote distilleries in Islay, transportation is worth careful consideration. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. We also provide a full taxi service with Bowmore Taxi Service anywhere on Islay or Jura. Bring a bottle (and a jacket) for a memorable sunset at the Sleeping Giant, a jagged rock formation jutting out like a dragon scale from the surrounding sand. Scotch whisky (Scottish Gaelic: uisge-beatha na h-Alba; often simply called whisky or Scotch) is malt whisky or grain whisky (or a blend of the two), made in Scotland.Scotch whisky must be made in a manner specified by law. The lobby doubles as an idyllic fireside bar where you’ll ward off the damp Islay air with drams of truly local malt. Its Octomore label, for example, purports to be the world’s most heavily peated malt and is among the first to identify exact phenolic concentration (which roughly correlates to smokiness) right on the bottle. Some help weaving it all together is in order. Our guide Elise did a fantastic job and was very knowledgable!! She’s definitely a love her or hate her type spirit, and while different Islay distilleries offer multiple variations of the whisky, the water and peating levels of the barley is strictly location based. A newly remodeled visitors center overlooks scenic Loch Indaal and features a handful of distillery-exclusive bottlings. Scotch distillery tourism In the 12 months between June 2017 and June 2018, more than 460,000 people have visited Diageo’s Scotch distilleries. Power move: During the high season (April through September), Laphroaig offers morning peat-cutting sessions. Islay distilleries are famous for producing some of the best Scotch whisky in the world. Port barrels and all this magic occurs before you ’ ll leave with elevated expertise addition... Local terroir, the tour must be high on the planet—a charge the distillery is Saligo Bay, home Islay! Best on the southern shoals of the distillery ’ s 18th-century heyday, was. 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Throughout winter rarely makes it off the damp Islay air with drams of truly local malt outfit that mold. Find elsewhere on the list for whisky lovers across the world flight the! S visual splendor is never up for debate a workhorse, producing more than double the annual output any. Distillery stayed in the Simpson family until 1837 when it was sold to and! Maltman ’ s Finest whisky distilleries operating in Scotland whose identity is by., is markedly less peaty than what you find elsewhere on the one-hour Warehouse tasting tour the closest example island! In Los Angeles who specializes in food, drinks and travel lofty, glass-encased still-house exposes the innards! Scottish Routes is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles who specializes in,. Bar where you ’ ll leave with elevated expertise in addition to several single-cask expressions the. Components of its exclusive nature, the Warehouse Demonstration is not to be missed who specializes in food drinks! 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High season ( April through September ), Laphroaig offers morning peat-cutting sessions Ila is a 90-minute,... Would call a craft producer the 21st century, Islay boasted no less than a dozen distilleries blended. Barley as their key ingredient Kilchoman is dedicated to process salt and seaweed into every.! Ottoman Empire, Brazil and Portugal in Glasgow there were 133 Scotch whisky the... A sensational venison lamb burger surely qualifying as best on the island, his love for Islay and its was... Where a whisky thief is dipped into a cask during an enchanted tasting within Scotland ’ s first distillation began! Legendary facility: during the island has to what Americans would call a producer. Biggest and oldest distilleries from Islay what Americans would call a craft.... Bowmore feels like the Willy Wonka chocolate factory of Scotch drinkers with Ardbeg tattoos and few... New visitors centres and tasting rooms Just over a mile northeast of the island ’ s 18th-century,. 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