Monday, April 26, 2010

Whisky Trip to Islay!

With the Water of Life Society I went to Islay, a small island famous for it peaty and smoky whiskies which just happen to be my favourite!

Our first stop before taking the ferry to Islay was the Auchentoshan Distillery. Here we had a tour of the distillery and a dram of whisky. A wonderful way to begin our day and the trip!

Then, after listening to Runrig's "Loch Lomond" we stopped and admired the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond! It was a beautiful day and the loch was crystal blue. Very beautiful!

Before heading over to the ferry, we stopped in a little town called Inverary for lunch. It was a very small but quaint and charming town that had a nice pub where we had a couple of pints. There was even a wedding taking place while we were there, so we got to see lots of men in kilts! ;)

Now for a 2.5 hour long ferry ride... Luckily, for the trip to Islay, the weather was nice and the sea was calm. Thus, with my motion sickness medicine I coped well with the ferry. The sea was beautiful and we entertained ourselves with cards, games and of course whisky! On the trip back to the mainland, however, I was not so fortunate. It was stormy and the sea was rough. Not a pleasant trip :(

When we landed on Islay, we drove to our hostel to settle in for the night. The hostel was great! We had the entire place all to ourselves with a beautiful backyard right on the ocean. Sometimes the beauty of Scotland absolutely amazes me!

The next day, we headed over to the Laphroaig Distillery! Being "Friends of Laphroaig" grants you a plot of land and a free dram of whisky. So of course we all become "Friends", have a dram of whisky and set out to find our individual plots of land. Now to find our land, we had to put on size 12 wellies (because they are exactly a foot long) and measure out step by step where our plots were in relation to the start point. All in all, we had some great laughs and "found" our own square foot of land on Islay itself!

After, we drove over to Islay Ales, Islay's own little brewery! It was a great little brewery, with fabulous ales and a wonderful host who gave us a tour of his brewery (one small room) and free range of the taps and bottles of beer to try!

Given that we were staying on an island, a trip to the beach was imperative. It was a beautiful day but still cold. We had whisky to keep us warm, especially after being splashed with freezing water and swimming in the ocean! But we had a blast!

The next distillery we went to was Ardbeg! We had a wonderful tour of the distillery and even got to taste wash and new spirit straight from the cask! Then, we also has a great selection of whiskies to try from including the newly released Rollercoaster! And all this followed by a superb lunch! Living the good life :)

Now of course we haven't had enough whisky for the day so we head over to the Bruichladdich Distillery for another great tour and a warehouse tasting! We sampled three whiskies from their casks including the Octomore! The world's most heavily peated whisky straight from the cask! Cask strength! Unbelievable! I was in Heaven!

The next day, we visit another distillery: Bunnahabhain! It was the coldest day so far, and we were all a little hungover, but the tour guide was wonderful and of course the whisky was great!

The last distillery of the trip was Bowmore. One of the best distillery tours yet because they let us play in the barley! It was so much fun with great whiskies to taste. A great note to end our fabulous whisky trip on!

Then, we left wonderful Islay and headed back to Edinburgh through a snow storm. A long ending to a great trip!