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Issue 120 - Whisky Island

Whisky Magazine Issue 120
June 2014


This article is 4 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Whisky Island

The "Queen of the Hebrides" has a lot to offer


Diehards may take the ferry at Port Askaig to visit this island that boasts 180 inhabitants, 5,000 deer, one hotel and one distillery (note from the Editor: see also the article on Jura and Orwell on page 32). The distillery is called Jura and they run the Jura Tastival in May. Those who love to run up and down a fell or seven fells might consider participating in the yearly Isle of Jura Fell Race, usually held in May.

If there is one island in the world that can claim the title Whisky Island, it is Islay, off the southwest coast of Scotland. Measuring 600 square kilometres with a stunning 130-mile long coastline, Islay is home to roughly 3,250 inhabitants proudly calling themselves Ileachs and no less than eight working distilleries.

First of all, how to get there? One option is flying from Glasgow in a small aircraft. It will take you approximately 45 minutes, but you have to be lucky with the weather. Flights will be cancelled when it appears too dangerous to land on the tiny airstrip, amidst a flock of grazing sheep.

When the skies are clear you might catch a glimpse of the famous three Kildalton distilleries from the air: Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin. Heading there by water and mooring in Port Ellen, you can see them more elaborately from the starboard side. The names of these three heavily peated single malts are proudly painted on the white warehouses facing the sea.

The alternative is to take the ferry from Kennacraig, Argyll. In about two hours Caledo...

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