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Visiting Islay This Summer

 
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Kelev Tov
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Joined: 25 Mar 2019
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Location: Longmeadow MA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:30 pm    Post subject: Visiting Islay This Summer Reply with quote

Hello Everybody -

New to this forum. Someone pour me a dram, please!

Planning on visiting Islay this coming August. I'd appreciate anyone's tips and ideas, what to miss, what to definitely see, best places to stay, other ideas. Thanks in advance.

I see whisky tour guides advertising their services. Does one indeed get back room, insider, VIP, hush hush tours and tastes, as many of them advertise? Does one get a different tour or experience with guides as opposed to walking up to take the distillery's tour?

Thanks for the dram! Slainte!
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Timp
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Joined: 21 May 2016
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Location: Isca

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kelev, a belated welcome to the forum.

I am not sure I am best placed to answer yiour question as I am sure there are others with much more experience, however my experience is as follows.

First went end April three years ago and have been every year since, as my wife and I fell in love with the place. We stay in Port Charlotte however each place has its own history and splendour that will without doubt leave its impression on you.

All of the distilleries are worth going to, particularly interested to see what the new one is like! -will report back on that as going in a couple of weeks so hope to have a look around.

I have never employed the services of a guide as I prefer to read loads and go my own way, but there a couple of well respected folk providing this service. There is an Islay blog site that has loads of info if you haven't found it already.

The other aspect to the place is both the ancient history and the natural world. I work as a Ranger in a National Park as my day job so the outside is my thing, however anyone would be impressed by the cliffs around the Oa peninsula, so that's worth visiting if your able to take a stroll. Loads of other stunning locations around,as well.

I hope you enjoy your visit, I am sure you will. Very Happy

Cheers

Tim
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Timp
Master Of Malts
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Joined: 21 May 2016
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Recently got back and would definitely recommend a trip to Ardnahoe. Its on the road out to Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain and its in a stunning location. All of the distilleries are set in such places, but as you walk round the corner from the car park to the entrance, the two worm tubs, tastefully clad in wood, are located directly in front of you with a large glass window behind, showing the stills and the view behind out of the back of the building, into the sound. Worth going for that alone!

Really nice shop and staff ( although I didnt get any bottles here, no shortage of choice and will do next year, particularly as they have a bottle your own set up, or will do when its up and running soon ) . Nice big restaurant with vey nice distillery bar and lovely picture window views out across the sound again. When it is all up and running ( no food the day we went ) it will be a great culinary addition to the Island and well worth a visit.

What I would also suggest that even if Bunnahabhain isn't on your wish list to go to, really do go. They are currently rebuilding the place and although it will be lovely all whitewashed and gleamy, for now still looks very victorian and blackened in contrast to Its setting.

Possibly more importantly the tours are great, they had the best array of distillery only bottlings available and they came in full size, 20cl and 5cl ( in a lot of cases ). If your travelling and have restricted items or sizes to consider, then it really is the best option for variety of choice for those who bother to make the journey to what for most of us, are iconic places. Also they have little bottles of new make spirit which I haven't seen in the others.

I have to say on my first visit to the Island I was disappointed in a few of the distilleries having nothing unique to offer the visitor. It is I suppose another very good reason to do a warehouse tour where you will get those treats, but it does seem a shame.

Be interested to know how you got on, if you visit here again.

Cheers
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Kelev Tov
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Joined: 25 Mar 2019
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Location: Longmeadow MA

PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your replies. I am still doing research, and haven't booked any tours. I have been reading about Bunnahabin and their rather unique ideas about making whisky, although I must admit I don't buy their bottles very often. Have never had any Aradnahoe - just haven't seen it in the US yet. Are they ready to bottle and distribute?

The choice will be between the distilleries whose products I know and enjoy best (Ardbeg, Lagavulin) vs. those that are perhaps offering more interesting tours. Will keep y'all posted.
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Timp
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Joined: 21 May 2016
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kelev Tov wrote:
Thank you all for your replies. I am still doing research, and haven't booked any tours. I have been reading about Bunnahabin and their rather unique ideas about making whisky, although I must admit I don't buy their bottles very often. Have never had any Aradnahoe - just haven't seen it in the US yet. Are they ready to bottle and distribute?

The choice will be between the distilleries whose products I know and enjoy best (Ardbeg, Lagavulin) vs. those that are perhaps offering more interesting tours. Will keep y'all posted.


Cheers, no worries.

Ardnahoe is new so you won't find any of its products available yet, however the owners are a well known bottling ( and now distilling ) company so a host of their bottles are available in their shop.

Not aware of any unique approach Bunnahabhain use to make their whisky, other than the obvious differences every ditsillery has to their distillilation process. Really just a steer to interesting things to take home, compared with some of the others. Its nice to have a souvenir of your time on the whisky island..

Ardbeg is lovely and has a nice restaurant attached.

All of the tours are good so going with your favourites first is a good way to start. Depends on the time you have available but the island is small so its easy to visit all of them.

Cant wait to get back, already booked for next year..

Have fun..
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