Whisky Magazine Issue 60
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For very obvious reasons Islay tends to dominate the landscape when it comes to Scotland's whisky islands. But the other islands offer plenty for the whisky enthusiast
From the benign and gently climactic island of Arran in the South West of Scotland to the rough and ready Orkney isles in the North East, it is hard to imagine a more disparate and varied range of islands than those that arc the West and North of Scotland.
Islay may boast eight distilleries and be known for its whisky but take it out of the equation and there are nearly as many distilleries littered across the other islands.
Indeed, should Shetland ever get a distillery, and Sir Iain Noble fulfil his dream of opening a second distillery on Skye, the islands will have as many distilleries as Islay does – and a great deal more diversity.
For while it is often assumed that the islands produce rugged and rough whisky, this is not always the case. Sure, if you want peat you can have it. But sweet, fruity and creamy whiskies are all on the menu too.
And the islands have another advantage, too. Go to Islay and you're going for the whisky, and you'll not be convincing anyone otherwise. Go on a tour of the islands, though, and there is plenty to do for all the family. Just as well really, because to visit the distilleries off the mainland is no easy feat and will require either a big budget or an investment in time and patience.
Caledonian MacBrayne offers regular and comprehensive ferry services to most of the islands, there are some flights and Skye can be approached by bridge. But pretty as the route is, the roads are slow.
Nevertheless all the islands offer something speci...