Islay Whisky

Islay, the Queen of the Hebrides, is world famous for its intensely peaty, smoky single malt Scotch whiskies. 

Distillation is said to have been brought to the island by Irish monks in the early 14th century, and continued untroubled as a cottage industry until the late 1700s, when the first taxman dared to set foot on the forbidding island off Scotland's west coast.

Bowmore is the oldest operating distillery on Islay, having been established in 1779, and makes a fittingly peaty style of spirit. At the other end of the age spectrum is Kilchoman, founded in 2005, and famed for farming its own barley.

Other famous producers are Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin – all of which make a smoky single malt. Another peaty distillery is Caol Ila, Islay's largest distillery by volume, provides much of the smoke found in Johnnie Walker's blends. 

But it's not all about smoke on Islay, with Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich making delicious unpeated whisky on the island. 

It's true that peat won't be for everyone, but if you can learn to savour the smoke, you'll find an island full of delicious flavours! 

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