It is a legacy of over 200 years. One of the world’s most prominent sites for whisky is housed at Islay on Scotland’s West coast. In fact these illustrious smoky single malts are the main economic drivers of this region.
The island has witnessed numerous distilleries expanding into established names. Needless to say, Islay stands unparalleled when it comes to single malts production and no other formidable location has been able to match up to its reputation.
It is primarily the location that makes this place an ideal destination to manufacture whisky. This tiny island is a two-hour ferry away from the mainland, with a population of less than 4,000. It is made up of the oldest rock on the surface of the earth formed 1.8 billion years ago.
This is part of the 100 islands and islets scattered down the side of Scotland’s west coast, 36 of which are inhabited. Standing further south than the other large islands, Islay is well placed to enjoy the warming effect of the transatlantic Gulf stream, making it more or less temperate.
Islay’s peat is signature in the world of whisky. The peated malt hence created is a flavour infused with rich smokiness varying considerably from distillery to distillery, thanks to each having its own unique techniques of production. For lovers of heavily peated whiskies,
the south-east coast of the island is a whisky-enthusiast’s dream. Three renowned distilleries from west to east Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg in that order, lie in three separate secluded bays and are fed by three different lochs in the hills above them.
Some distilleries have totally stopped maturing all their whisky on the island. Instead of the moist saline air that Islay distilleries are famed for, the manufacturers are allowing their blends to mature in the mainland. These days all Islay whisky is bottled on the mainland.