Most of us are familiar with Islay and its distilleries turnout out those big, smoky, heavily peated whiskies, with more than a dash of saltiness thanks to the fresh sea air the whisky matures in. Islay whisky can be a love it or hate it kind of thing, so what do you do if you want to get those delicious marine notes you get from a seaside distillery, but without the heavy smokiness and peat?
Islay is not the only Scottish Isle to be home to distilleries, in fact there’s a whole (albeit unofficial) region, simply called ‘The Islands’, featuring a growing list of distilleries known for whisky with heavy influence from the sea, and at times but not as a rule, a bit of peat.
The Islands stretch from the Isle of Arran way down the south west coast below Campbeltown, up to Jura (right next door to Islay), Mull, Skye, Lewis & Harris, and the Orkneys north of the Scottish mainland. This wide geographic spread produces a range of flavours, all underpinned by the coastal salinity that is found across the board.
Let’s take a tour of the Islands and see what they have in store for us.