7 Distilleries, 7 Days

Well it was actually 8 distilleries in four days, but that doesn't quite have the same ring to it. I've just returned from a wonderful week spent on the west coast of Scotland including a visit to the islands of Islay and Jura.

To be honest I never used to be a fan of any Islay whiskys (or so I thought) because to my palate they were all phenolic peat-bombs with not much other flavour. However through trying whisky-cask aged beers such as Brewdog's Paradox range and Black Isle's Black Islay I came to appreciate that perhaps I had been unfair to them. Indeed not all Islay whiskys are peated and Bruichladdich is now among my favourite malts.

This post is more of a summary of where I went to, a brief overview if you will and I plan to write more in depth pieces on those distilleries I toured.

On Easter Sunday my whisky week began in Oban. Unfortunately they were fully booked for tours. A disappointing start to the week exacerbated by the rain outside,

The order of the day on Tuesday was an early start and two ferries to get from the mainland to Jura. As a long time favourite tipple I was very much looking forward to this distillery and wasn't disappointed.
A ferry back to Islay brought us into Port Askaig, home of Caol Ila - unfortunately closed for rennovation until a week after-bad timing! Bunnahabhain further up the coast were on holiday too, so no visit there either I'm afraid.

Wednesday morning I awoke to find myself in Bowmore (planned) with the eponymous distillery but a stone's throw from our door. That afternoon also saw a tour of Bruichladdich and Kilchoman on the west of the island.

Thursday meant visits to the the south coast "peat monster" distilleries, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. Being within a few miles of each other it makes for a great walk, and the sea air certainly clears out the cobwebs!
Not a bad haul!

It wasn't just about the drinking however, I also learnt a lot more about the whisky making process, got to try wash (beer) and new make spirit and chat to like-minded people. I also returned acertain beer to its spiritual home and shared it around with anyone interested. Further postings to come!

All in all a very whisky week, but beer didn't escape completely un-noticed with beverages supped from Ayr, Islay, Oban Bay, Isle of Mull and Fyne Ales. More on these and the whiskys later. I'd definitely recommend a visit to this area of Scotland because not only is it beautiful, so are the drinks.


  1. We love visiting Islay, it's such a beautiful island and always a very warm welcome.
    We've been twice, first time for 5 nights and second time for a week. We're planning a third week there next spring.
    If you can get there for the annual whisky festival, would strongly recommend it!

    1. Would love to! May not be until 2014 though as next year's holidays already accounted for!

  2. Sounds great Steve! I'd love to get myself up there, but I get into enough trouble making the house smell of whisky - the wife can't stand it.

    For the time being I'll have to settle for enjoying your accounts!

    1. I couldn't afford much whisky myself, most of that is my dad's -though was able to try plenty on the island!