My magic day on Islay

4.19pm, Sunday 6th November, Back at Kentraw Farmhouse, Isle of Islay, Scotland

Wow! This place would have to be the best kept secret in the British Isles.

Just about everything on Islay is closed on a Sunday, but we found more than enough to keep us completely busy, and the sun’s just started dropping quickly into the sea now. We started out with the tour and tasting at Laphroaig, which is over the other side of the Island, past Port Ellen. Now before going on, I need to explain that there are eight distilleries on Islay, and each of them face the ocean and have their own docks. In the olden days this was the only way that barrels could come to the island and bottles of Whisky could leave. There’s also a tradition with the distilleries that even though they all have varying numbers and styles of their actual stills – they all paint their buildings with whitewash, and have the name of the distillery on the ocean-facing wall in massive letters.

So let’s start with Laphroaig – the only distillery open today, and by luck being my first ever Scotch Whisky single malt experience – it is now ‘my Whisky house’. I’ve even signed up as a friend of Laphroaig and now have a plot of bog in front of the main building! A local already! Here’s the barrel store at Laphroaig, all this wood has come across from being used to age bourbon in America.

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Just along the coast a couple of miles is Lagavulin.

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And along the coast a couple more miles is Ardbeg.

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And on the way back to the Farmhouse, we met another one of the locals …

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So after the magic weather and the excellent introduction to the world of Single Malt Scotch Whisky, it’s off to the Port Charlotte Hotel for dinner, then the little over-wing prop jet back to Glasgow tomorrow morning. Then the jet from Glasgow to London City airport and back to work.

I wonder how much trouble I’d be in if I just happened to miss the plane and get marooned here! Forever!

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