Scotland Distillery Tour: Islay Distilleries
With so many distilleries on the island we didn’t have time to visit all of them. But we managed to visit quite a few distilleries on Islay.
Roll down the road to what looks like a scenic little village then around a corner to the distillery that is an industrial complex. Owned by one of my favorite companies Diageo we bought a small bottle of the Whiskey and were on to the next one.
A photographic dream when we pulled into this distillery. Inside was a little shop where we used the restrooms, bought some whiskey flavored lip balm, and a sample bottle of the whiskey. The distillery like almost all on the island is on the water so we spent some time taking pictures of the water and the buildings from the dock.
Driving down a long narrow road past fields of sheep was Kilchoman a distillery that was closed by the time we arrived that evening. So instead we snapped a few pictures of the local livestock and a small graveyard and church not far away. We tried a sample of it later in the evening while waiting for dinner. It was okay.
We enjoyed a 10 AM tasting at finding out that legally they couldn’t sell or do tasting until 10. The girl behind the counter was all smiles and very friendly as she explained the whiskey’s they make to use. We bought a few sample bottles from here.
This was on the list of places to tour and it turned out to be a great tour. Many distilleries don’t process the grain on-site so it was a nice tour to get to see the room where it is processed. The tour guide we found out was the sister of the girl that worked at the Bruichladdich distillery that was so friendly. Her other sister working at one of the distilleries we were yet to visit. Of the tours, we have done so far the Bowmore one is in the top five.
From Bowmore, we drove down to the south side of the island to Ardbeg which is known as a very smoky whiskey. The campus was beautiful with an art display outside a dinosaur head and a lovely space overall. Inside the shop, they offer food and whiskey tasting and the place was crowded full of people experiencing both. We were going to buy a sample bottle here but the line was super long and the place super crowded so we moved on to the next distillery figuring we can buy a bottle elsewhere at some point in time.
This was a very nice small distillery. They don’t have much of a shop or tourist experience instead they offered us a couple of samples of whiskey and a nice place to relax and sit to drink it. Unfortunately, they didn’t sell any sample bottles or else we would have bought one. We will, however, purchase this whiskey when we find it as it was very good and a proper relaxing whiskey drinking experience in the chairs next to the books and small wood stove.
Laphroaig offers multiple tour options including a four and a half hour one where you get lunch, whiskey pairings, stories, and an opportunity to put on some boots and go dig out some of the peat they use to make the whiskey. The tours were all sold out for the day. This is another location that didn’t sell sample bottles and we needed a break from tastings by this point in the day so didn’t have any samples.