The island of Islay is home to no fewer than 8 distilleries and includes some especially well known Malts. Islay qualifies as a distinct Scottish Whisky region and is described as the ‘Whisky Isle’. Noted for the higher levels of peat and complex flavours the whisky casks mature in a maritime atmosphere, often only a few metres from the shoreline. On opening some bottles you get a definite initial hint of ‘sea air’’.

The Islay whisky distilleries are all around the coast of Islay with Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin all close to the ferry destination of Port Ellen, at the Southern end of Islay. The alternative ferry destination of Port Askaig, on the East coast, has Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila distilleries nearby. The remaining three distilleries, on the Western side of Islay, are Bruichladdich, Bowmore and Kilchoman.

Our whisky scouts have visited some of these distilleries on several occasions, they will be putting together a selection from some of them specifically for the Harrow Whisky festival. We routinely have several Islay malts within the regular stock of whisky.

Most ferry crossings to Islay are from Kennacraig, although a more complex route exists from Oban via Colonsay. Oban harbour is pictured above, a fishing boat visible in the photo has adopted the name of one of Islay’s ports. Oban is also the departure point for the Isle of Mull with its Tobermory distillery. The Isle of Jura with its single distillery is only a few hundred metres from Islay. Jura is reached by a small ferry hoping between the two islands. The islands of Jura and Islay are so close that deer can sometimes be spotted swimming between them. Islay has a long established late spring festival of music and malts


Islay Whisky