Whisky Connoisseurs at Caol Ila Distillery

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Bowmore and proceeded on a tour as follows:

First to Caol Ila Distillery where we joined the standard tour at 9.30 am. As with all distillery tours we shown the malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation processes culminating in a tasting. Unfortunately, photography of the interior was not permitted.Key facts concerning Caol Ila:

  • Founded 1846
  • Produces 6.5m litres pa.
  • Most of the spirit goes into blends, such as Johnnie Walker.
  • Part of the giant Diageo drinks group.

The distillery was substantially rebuilt in early 1970s. The site affords good views of the Paps of Jura, across the water.

Caol Ila Distillery, Islay, Scotland

Caol Ila Malt, Islay, Scotland

Paps of Jura from Caol Ila Distillery, Islay

Next, we undertook a short scenic tour of Islay, along the road to Portnahaven returning in time to join the 12.15 tasting at Bowmore Distillery. After lunch we joined the 2.00pm standard tour of the same distillery which has a history dating back to 1779 and is now part of the Suntory drinks group. Bowmore is one of the few remaining distilleries which has its own malting floor, producing about 20pct of malted barley requirements.Key product is a 12 year old.


Maltings Floor at Bowmore Distillery, Islay

Washbacks at Bowmore Distillery, Islay

Mash Tun at Bowmore Distillery, Islay

Whisky Stills at Bowmore, Islay

Video clip of Whisky Stills at Bowmore



Our final visit was Bruichladdich where guests joined a Warehouse Experience, tasting five malts direct from casks. Our visit coincided with replacement of the distillery’s stills, an exercise which entailed removing part of the roof. Bruichladdich is now part of the French owned Remy Cointreau drinks group and is active with experimental malt expressions and new releases. Products include a 12 year old, Port Charlotte and Octomore brands.The distillery produces about 1.5m litres of spirit p.a.

Bruichladdich Malts, Islay

View of Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay

With distillery visits concluded, we drove south to Port Ellen and our new lodgings for the night. En-route we passed extensive peat cuttings.

Peat Cuttings, Islay, Scotland

Tomorrow, we visit Ardbeg and other distilleries in South Islay.

Final version of post delayed due to poor quality WiFi on Islay

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