Whisky Magazine Issue 18
This article is 14 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.
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2016. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
For us whisky enthusiasts, there are few places we'd rather be than on Islay during the whisky festival (see Dave Broom's diary, pages 20-22).
I had the good fortune to stay on the island as a guest of Society. This on-line organisation encourages and enables members to visit the island. Crucially, the society allows members to make the most of their stay in an informal yet structured manner. In three days they can visit all the disitilleries (including Jura) and see many other places of interest. The evenings are given over to delicious dinners and informal tastings: proprietary bottlings are sampled alongside offerings from many independent bottlers. Not every bottling of every whisky is a winner, but this is useful as it allows people to express an opinion and gives them more confidence in their ability to assess and discuss their preferences.
A visit to Islay will persuade the most virulently anti-whisky person to convert to the cult of uisque baugh. I speak an an evanglist as I have seen this very phenomenon affect my wife. The flight from Glasgow was filled with questions such as 'will I offend our hosts if I refuse their whisky?' It became an irrelevance as within 20 minutes of dumping our luggage in the cottage, she stood on the banks of Loch Indaal cradling a Bowmore 12 year old as if it were a long-standing habit. She hasn't looked back.
Her first distillery visit was a tour of Ardbeg by Stuart Thompson. What a way to begin an education. These opportun...