Nov 30, 2009

smell of malt, peat, grass...


Everybody smiles, everybody waves at you, everybody wants to chat with you... People of Islay have been the most unforgettable memory of this trip. To be honest I decided to come here for one aspiration: whisky. But I am leaving this island with a more general admiration for Islay. I am sure the reason that will bring me back here won't be whisky only.

In spite of the cancellation of my flight to Islay from Glasgow due to thunder-storms on Wednesday next four days I spent on the island were amazingly sunny, bright and beautiful. I have to say people working for fly.be in Glasgow were not the most helpful airline employees to deal with deep frustrations of their customers but unfortunately you don't have any other choice to fly to Islay. So I tried not to do something stupid. By the way Askernish, the B&B I stayed in Port Ellen was a small beauty and highly recommended.

I had my tours at Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Bunnahabhain, Bowmore, Bruichladdich and Caol Ila distilleries and also visited legendary old distillery, new malting house Port Ellen. Every one of them was beautiful. Ardbeg and Bruichladdich visits were specially satisfying. Kilchoman and Jura are left for  the next trip.

If anybody is interested to come to Islay here is a short list of useful items to have with: a wind proof long umbrella you can use also as a walking stick, high hiking shoes, back pack, binoculars, a good map, sunglasses... I highly recommend walking on the island as much as possible. Renting a car and driving around is pretty tempting if you want to do as much as possible in a short time but it was nice to slow down to the island's daily winter pace and not to rush around. Probably otherwise I couldn't see the golden eagles when I was hiking 15 km on Oa Peninsula on a beautiful Sunday morning or end up in stunning Portnahaven just because the next bus was driving there. Islay is not a small island but you really want to see every piece of it.


Ardview Inn in Port Ellen is a perfect local pub with almost every expression of Islay whiskies and more. It was the perfect place to end tired days sipping amazing drams and chatting with the pub owner about whisky and whisky industry.


This island smells malt, peat and wet grass all over. I can smell this blend in my room and on my clothes when I am packing, amazing..! This smell will bring me here again.

Bye to the island of lonely houses...