Islay, Queen of the Hebrides

Islay is one of the inner Hebrides isles, known for the highest density of whisky distilleries and its peculiar smoky taste, due to the availability of peat on its soil.

Whisky

On Islay you can buy whiskys that you cannot buy anywhere else, limited editions and more.

At Ardbeg we had the best tasting. It was informative and the atmosphere friendly and relaxed.

The whisky tasting we had at Lagavulin was set in a stunningly-decorated room, with comfy couches and expensive looks. This was also one the finest whisky we got to taste.

If you didn’t know, Bunnahabhain is the least known whisky abroad, but the most liked by the locals. Apparently this is because it is the least peated whisky and locals claim can get tired of having smoky whiskys. We had a complimentary tasting with the most spectacular views. This was for sure one of the friendliest distilleries on the isle.

Ardnahoe is the first distillery we visited and the only one we properly visited ahead of a tasting. This is the youngest distillery on the island and in September 2021 it did not have its own whisky ready yet. There is also some controversial discussion as it ships its whisky to be bottled in Glasgow, not following the traditional way of the other distilleries.

That said, we loved our time there and by being the newest distillery you can really appreciate all the small details and ecological efforts put in.

The Wool Mill

A stop at this old wool mill was one of the best if not the best experiences while on the island. You can still see the original mills which are still in use upstairs, and buy one of the many patterns woven on site.

The owner is an English man who moved on the island some decades ago. He not only dressed actors for important movies like Breaveheart or Hamlet, but also served the Queen, who unexpectedly popped in.

Natural beauties

What mostly called me to visit Islay was its natural landscapes, white beaches and open spaces.

Machir Bay

The OA Peninsula and the walk to the American monument on its high cliffs was one of my favourite places on Islay. I loved the orange colour of the grass and the open spaces from those heights, which make you want to stay and admire forgetting about everything else.

The people of Islay are extremely friendly. There is even such a thing called the ‘Islay wave’ where everybody waves while driving past you. Isn’t it great?

Kildalton cross

While being there for those short four days, I wondered how it would be to live there. Probably awesome but would also need to keep very busy with walks or open my own cafe or B&B. We did meet a French girl living there and she said she would never leave. I certainly don’t blame her.

The food

Surrounded by fresh waster, Islay’s restaurants offer lots of top notch and locally sourced seafood like scallops and mussels. We were lucky enough to dine at the Harbour Inn and had THE best menu made for us, as this was a gift for our honeymoon. Unforgettable.

I can’t wait to go back to Islay!! Have you ever been?

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