Whisky Magazine Issue 55
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What better way to visit the distilleries on Islay and Jura than on foot? Dominic Roskrow and a Whisky Magazine team have done just that
If you've ever followed the coast tour of Port Ellen on Islay and visited the distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg you'll know what a special experience it is.
If you do it on foot after two solid days of walking, rowing cycling and you're accompanied by a raggle-taggle posse of distillery workers and industry personnel, then it's an experience that straddles the surreal and the sublime.
Throw in a few surprises – a quadruple whammy of treats from the distilleries in question – and I'm not sure it can get any better.
As we dragged our aching limbs up the drive of Laphroaig they set off the fire siren to greet us, and we were met by the affable John Campbell, the island's youngest manager, with a large and very welcome glass of Laphroaig Quarter Cask.
At Lagavulin we were taken in to the warehouse to taste the distillery's oldest whisky, a 1969 Lagavulin straight from the cask. Drinking such a sensational whisky among such a wonderful group of people puts it right up there as one of my greatest whisky moments.
And from there we crossed the line from sublime to surreal when Lagavulin employee and Pillaged Malts organiser Kevin Campbell led us quite literally down his garden path to his shed, named the Washback Bar, for a sample of this year's stunning Pillaged Malt, containing whisky from all Islay and Jura's distilleries as well as Bushmills in Northern Ireland.
And from there we finally staggered our way to Ardbeg where blow me, they've hired a piper to ...