Have a Dram Good Time at these Five Must-Visit Scotch Distilleries on Islay
The production of traditional Scotch whisky is the lifeblood of the enchanting Scottish island of Islay. Global Air Charters can fly you directly to Islay’s small airport (EGPI) or the mainland, where you and your rental car can ferry to the island.
Steeped in centuries-old tradition, the rugged and windswept island of Islay is home to some of the most renowned distilleries in the world. The abundance of peat in the region gives Islay single malts their classic smoky flavor, while the salt-laden air infuses each whisky with a distinct character.
A journey through Islay is as much a sensory experience as a travel adventure. If you’re a true lover of Scotch, consider journeying to this hallowed island this summer. Here are five distilleries not to miss.
Peat lovers worldwide celebrate the Laphroaig label, and for good reason, as Laphroaig’s characteristic blend of smokey and medicinal flavors could only be produced in this region of Scotland. The Laphroaig distillery sits at the edge of the sea, enshrouded by the rugged, natural beauty of the Islay coast.
The distillery offers visitors a first-hand look at traditional, centuries-old whisky making practices, and its “Friends of Laphroaig” program invites whisky lovers to become lifelong leaseholders of a square foot of Islay’s fertile land and a part of the Laphroaig legacy.
Next, journey along the southern coast to Ardbeg, another bastion of heavily peated Scotch. The Ardbeg distillery dates to 1815 and prides itself on maintaining the same techniques over the generations. Tours typically include introductions to the distillery’s historic malting floor, fermentation vats, and copper stills. Don’t forget to visit the Old Kiln Café afterward for some traditional Scottish fare.
Not far from neighboring Ardbeg, the Lagavulin Distillery also thrives on Islay’s southern shores. Recognized for producing Scotch with a robust and sophisticated peat-smoke profile, Lagavulin is a must-visit for those who relish bold flavors. Its picturesque setting and rich, intense spirit is an absolute treat for the senses.
In the island’s capital town of the same name, Bowmore Distillery produces a distinct, smoky and sweet whisky. Bowmore houses one of the oldest Scotch maturation warehouses in the world, the legendary No.1 Vaults. The distillery’s tours let you experience this atmospheric warehouse while tasting exquisite whiskies straight from the cask.
The Bruichladdich Distillery continues to challenge whisky norms. While still paying respect to traditional distilling practices, they push the envelope to craft both heavily peated and unpeated single malts.
Tour the Bruichladdich Distillery to gain insight into their innovative approach to blending modern and traditional methods. You’ll taste some of their diverse offerings, including their peat monster, Octomore, and artisanal gin, The Botanist.
Visit Islay This Summer
Islay is a stunning and picturesque destination, and you don’t have to be a Scotch aficionado to enjoy your visit. Islay is home to many fine restaurants offering locally raised beef, free-range eggs, fresh seafood, and locally grown produce, as well as a selection of hotels and bed-and-breakfast options.
Whether you’re seasoned with Scotch or a curious traveler, Islay’s distilleries offer a captivating journey through Scotland’s heritage. Immerse yourself in a narrative of tradition, craftsmanship, and the ceaseless pursuit of flavor, all set against Islay’s rugged beauty.
This journey is not just about appreciating the fine art of whisky-making; it’s also about enjoying the spirit of Islay – one dram at a time.