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 — Finlaggan
Finlaggan 'Cask Strength' 58%
This cask strength release of Finlaggan has a lovely pungent peat smoke aroma, with notes of smoky bacon and old leather. The palate is rich with more peat smoke, iodine and lemon zest leading to a peppery finish that is long and warming.
Finlaggan 'Old Reserve' 40%
The distillery this whisky comes from is undisclosed, but it is pungently peaty and smoky as you'd except, with a medicinal quality that is very similar to the smell of new band-aid or bandages. A very affordable single malt Islay whisky.