Showing posts from March, 2016

[Trips] Islay Trip - Part 3 - Bowmore distillery and Port Ellen

After a busy first afternoon on Islay, we were ready for Bowmore on Saturday morning. As we had our own driver for the first couple of visit and he therefore had to miss any tasting (Bruichladdich offered to give him a dram if he had his own container but as he didn’t have one they swapped his £5 off-a-bottle visit ticket for a miniature of their Botanist gin, Kilchoman however did not give him anything…) we decided to make the journey from Port Ellen to Bowmore by bus. I had booked the tour for 9:30 so we had to catch the 8:19 bus which arrived in Bowmore at 8:43. The return ticket cost £5. You can’t really afford to miss your bus on Islay as they are not that frequent (only 5 leaving from Port Ellen for the day). Bowmore the “main town” on Islay with the tourist information office, a bank (and probably the only ATM), a Coop and a few shops including the best Spar ever if you like rare whisky bottles! There is a small harbour too and the famous round church (the fact it

[Trips] Islay Trip - Part 2 - Kilchoman distillery and evening in Port Ellen

Back on the road for the second part of my visit to Islay. We left Bruichladdich at around 3:15 to head to Kilchoman (pronounce “kil-homan”) for the 3:30 visit. 15 minutes to cover 5 miles should be plenty but again, the road to get to Islay’s farm distillery is not the best and we arrived just after 3:30. Unlike at Bruichladdich were the tour was fully booked up, there were only 3 other people on our tour, but I would still recommend you book in advance to avoid any surprise. Kilchoman is Islay smallest and most recent distillery as it only opened in 2005. It is also one of the most authentic as most of the production happens on site, from growing the barley to bottling the end product. the Malting floor Peat and Kiln One of the specificities of Kilchoman is the fact that they still malt some of their own barley on site. Only 7 distilleries have kept a malting floor, 3 of which are on Islay (kilchoman, Bowmore and Laphroaig) The barley they malt is the one they

[Trips] Islay Trip - Part 1 - The journey and Bruichladdich distillery

As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent the last weekend on Islay with a few friends. It was obviously a whisky tour and the aim was to try to visit as many distilleries as possible, to experience a range of single malts and of course to discover a bit more of the island itself. So quite a programme for only 3 days! Out of the 8 distilleries currently operating on Islay (pronounce “i-la”) we managed to visit 6, Bruichladdich and Kilchoman on the Friday afternoon, Bowmore on the Saturday morning and Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig on the Sunday. In this first post, I am going to focus on the Thursday journey and Bruichladdich on Friday. We left Manchester on Thursday afternoon at around 5pm and head up North. Our plan was to drive to Lochgair, which is about 30/40min away from Kennacraig and the ferry terminal, stay in the Lochgair hotel there and drive to the ferry on the Friday morning.  Lochgair Hotel We arrived at the hotel at around 11:15. The hotel was basic bu