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The Travel Blog

Aye, I'll have a Scotch from the Isle of Islay!

Image Title: Laphroaig Distillery [Photo: Open Door Travelers]
Laphroaig Distillery [Photo: Open Door Travelers]

Image Title: Swan Neck Stills at the Laphroag Distillery [Photo: Open Door Travelers]
Swan Neck Stills at the Laphroag Distillery [Photo: Open Door Travelers]

Image Title: Pulling our own dram from the Cask [Photo: Open Door Travelers]
Pulling our own dram from the Cask [Photo: Open Door Travelers]

Image Title: The Head Waters of Laphroaig [Photo: Open Door Travelers]
The Head Waters of Laphroaig [Photo: Open Door Travelers]

Image Title: After a hard day of Scotch Tasting [Photo: Open Door Travelers]
After a hard day of Scotch Tasting [Photo: Open Door Travelers]

The Isle of Islay is one of the Southern Hebrides Islands off the West coast of Scotland - and it's also where the peatiest (yes, that's a word to describe peat content in parts per million of scotch whisky) comes from.  World famous labels like Lagavulin, Laphroag, Bowmore, and Ardbeg have been making single malt scotch on the Isle of Islay (pronounced "eye-la")  for well over a hundred years.  Newer labels like Caol Ila, Bruichladdich, and Kilchoman are outstanding upstarts ranging from only 50 years old to just 10 years old.

All of the distilleries on the Isle of Islay offer tours and tastings and you can find local tour companies on TripAdvisor that will be glad to set up a tour package for you that includes hotel and a day or two of tastings.  The debates on the finer points of which is the best scotch have ranged since the beginning of time, but [nearly] all agree that Scotch Whisky is among the best.  We note that Whisky comes from Scotland because there is no "e" in Scotland or in Whisky.  Whiskey comes from everywhere else - Am"e"rica, Ir"e"land, "E"ngland, "Franc"e", Japan"e" - well it's still whiskey from Japan. . . 

Back to the Isle of Islay.  When you arrive, you can see just how desolate the Hebrides islands are.  They are basicaly windswept, treeless, peat bogs and rock esarpments with a few villages clinging to the seaside.  The three major economic drivers for the Isle of Ilay are Whisky, Tourism, and Fishing.  Of course, all three of these make the Isle of Islay a lovely place to visit.  There are only a few villages on this small island and all of them offer your basic pint-and-pie pubs, a hotel and maybe one or two restaurants where you can sample the fresh seafood from the North Atlantic and the Irish Sea.

Phil & Diane