Islay Whisky Shop, Bowmore

Islay is an island of Scotland’s West Coast which has achieved world status as a whisky producer. Currently, there are eight producing distilleries most of which have Gaelic names.

Helped by an abundant supply of peat (decayed vegetation which can be used as fuel) and water, Islay produces a range of classic malts from the following distilleries:

Ardbeg  (‘Little Height or Promontory’) – Founded 1815, located at Port Ellen and owned by Glenmorangie. Uses a malted barley with a high phenol content and sources peaty water from Loch Uigeadail, about one mile from the distillery. Output includes a 10-year-old (46pct and non-chill filtered) and a 17-year-old (40pct. and blended from a range of Ardbeg expressions).

Ardbeg Single Malts, Islay

Ardbeg Distillery, Islay, Scotland

Bowmore (‘Sea Reef or Sea Rock’) – Founded 1779, located at Bowmore and owned by Suntory of Japan. Sources water from the peaty River Laggan and cuts local peat for its traditional floor maltings. Uses four onion shaped stills for distillation. Output includes Bowmore Legend (40pct and 8-10 year old), a 12-year-old (40 pct.) and a 15-year-old ( 43pct).

Bowmore Single Malts, Islay

Bowmore Distillery, Islay

Bruichladdich (‘Brae of the Shore’) – Founded 1881, located at Bruichladdich and privately owned. Uses spring water with a high peat content. The malts, which are produced un chill-filtered, include a 10-year-old (46pct), a 15-year-old (46pct.) and a 20-year-old (46pct.).

Whisky Stills at Bruichladdich, Islay

Bruichladdich Single Malts

Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay

Bunnahabhain (‘River Mouth’) – Founded 1881, located at Port Askaig and owned by Burns Stewart. Unusually for Islay, this distillery produces an unpeated malt which sources its water from the Margadale Spring. The spirit, which is distilled in four onion shaped stills, is mainly used in blends. Principal product is the 12-year-old at 40pct.

Bunnahabhain Single Malts, Islay

Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay

Caol Ila (‘Sound of Islay’) – Founded 1846, located at Port Askaig and owned by major drinks conglomerate, Diageo. Sources water from Loch nam Ban about one mile away and distills using six onion shaped stills. Historically the product has been extensively used in blending. Principal single malt is the 15-year-old (43pct.).

Caol Ila Single Malts, Islay

Caol Ila Distillery, Islay

Kilchoman (‘St. Comman’s Church’) – First new distillery on Islay for 124 years, located about five miles west of Bruichladdich, close to Atlantic Ocean. Privately owned. First whisky (three-year old) produced 2009.

Kilchoman Single Malts, Islay

Kilchoman Distillery, Islay

Lagavulin (‘Mill Hollow’) – A sister distillery to Caol Ila which was founded 1817, located at Port Ellen and owned by drinks conglomerate, Diageo. Sources water high in peat content from a stream flowing from Solan Lochs situated north of the distillery and distills with four, broad necked stills. Output includes Lagavulin 16-year-old (43pct.) and Lagavulin 1979 Distiller’s Edition (43pct.)

Lagavulin Single Malts, Islay

Lagavulin Distillery, Islay

Laphroaig (‘A Cave’) – Founded 1815, located at Port Ellen and owned by Allied Domecq. Malts barley on site with locally cut peat and sources water from the Kilbride dam. This malt is famed for its raw, pungent taste. Principal malts include a 10-year-old (40pct.), 10-year-old cask strength (57.3pct.) and a 15-year-old (43pct.)

Laphroaig Single Malts, Islay

Laphroaig Distillery, Islay