Three Days in Heaven: Islay

Islay sheep

If I was prone to cursing like a sailor, this would be the week to go all out with as many expletives as humanly possible.  The 31st annual Islay Festival is about to start and I am no where near. !#%&!!!

Chapter 8 in my book, Whisky Tales: Tastings and Temptations is aptly named “Dream Do Come True: Seven Days Thirty-two Whiskies” – my week in Scotland visiting distilleries and I never had to drive! Three of the days were spent on Islay. Truly three days in heaven. So now I relive the three days and pretend that I am at the Islay Festival and imbibing with all my fellow Islay enthusiasts.

While on this dream vacation, eighteen of the thirty-two whiskies were tibbled on Islay. I took some notes, not as many as I now wish I had. In fact, I wish I had tried more whiskies!!! Alas, the body will only take so much abuse before it screams back at me.

Here is a list of whiskies I enjoyed on Islay:

  1. Lagavulin 16 YO
  2. Lagavulin 2003 Distillers Edition
  3. Laphroaig 10 YO
  4. Laphroaig 18 YO
  5. Laphroaig 25 YO
  6. Ardbeg Blasda
  7. Ardbeg Renaissance 10 YO
  8. Bowmore 17 YO
  9. Bowmore 13 YO Craftsmen’s collection, Maltmen’s Reserve
  10. Bowmore 16 YO, Sherry cask
  11. Bowmore Legend
  12. Auchentoshan 14 YO
  13. Suntory Hibiki 17 YO (How did that get in the mix?)
  14. Island Storm 10 YO
  15. Kilchoman 3 YO – Inaugural launch
  16. Bruichladdich PC7
  17. Bruichladdich Rocks 8 YO
  18. Bruichladdich 16 YO Bourbon cask

Holding Inaugural Kilchoman 3 YO

Highlights:

  • The most unusual thing I saw on Islay was the daily jaunt down to beach in front of us by the longhaired cattle. Cows on the beach – who knew!
  • Actually standing in the Kildalton Cemetery and seeing a grave stone for the “Lord of the Isles” was amazing.  The Ardbeg Lord of the Isles whisky is hugely fabulous.
  • Drinking and dining in Duffies Bar at the Lochside Hotel while overlooking Loch Indaal was a high note.
  • Hell, the ferry ride alone from the mainland to the Islay was a very moving experience as we caught first sight of the island and saw Port Ellen painted on the white washed building in the harbor.

If you EVER have a chance to visit Islay, do.  If you are able to attend the festival all the better. While there, raise a glass for me!

Islay cottage

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