The island of Islay (pronounced eye-la) lies in the southern Inner Hebridean isles of Scotland and boasts 8 producing single malt distilleries: (Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Kilchoman) and one closed (Port Ellen). Islay is home to some of the most famous distilleries in Scotland, and while the majority produce a heavily peated and pungently smoky whisky, there are excellent un-peated styles made here too.
The distinctive smoky aroma and flavour is imparted by the drying of barley over smouldering peat fires, with this character diminishing and softening with time in the cask. Islay whiskies are connected strongly to where they are made, and a visit to the island is among one of the best whisky experiences available in the world.
The Whiskies of Islay — Caol Ila
Caol Ila 12 years old 43% 750ml
From the northern edge of Islay, the Caol Ila distillery is known for a slightly more refined smoke character, with citrus fruit and and a gentle sweetness that mingles with the peat. Sophisticated and lingering, a great introduction to some of the smokier whiskies from the Island.