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Issue 76 - Island life

Whisky Magazine Issue 76
November 2008


This article is 9 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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Island life

From Orkney to Arran,Scotland's islands are home to some of Scotland's best distilleries.

Although you tend to associate island whisky with big flavours and heavy peat, in actual fact there is a rich diversity in the malts that are produced off-shore.And it's the same with the islands themselves – they offer the visitor a complete Scottish experience, from stunning coastlines to challenging mountain terrain to pretty lochs.

All the islands are easy to reach, well served by air and sea, and all offer a range of accommodation from cheap and cheerful bed and breakfasts to high quality and occasionally very luxurious hotels.

Here is a guide to each of them, with the exception of Islay.

ORKNEY THE DISTILLERIES Highland Park and Scapa Highland Park and Scapa are Scotland's most northerly distilleries and only Highland Park is open to the public, although when the former owners of Scapa refurbished it and put it back into fulltime production a visitor centre and tour were mooted and new owners Beam haven't entirely ditched the plan.

Highland Park is well worth the effort of getting to the Orkney Isles. It's a traditional distillery with kilns and floor maltings, it obviously produces a world class whisky, and owner Edrington has invested heavily in visitor facilities, most recently in the last year or so.

Enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff help to ensure that a visit here is a memorable one.

The islands The Orkney isles are a large collection of islands of differing sizes, some of which are joined together by the Churchill barriers – huge concrete blocks drop...

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