Whisky of Islay

Every month The Exmoor White Horse Inn, famous for its 150 special whiskies and expert knowledge, will be bringing you the low down on the best whiskies from the worlds most renowned whisky region. Starting on the Scottish coast to the highlands, central Scotland, the lowlands and wales, then around the globe from Europe as far Japan’s oldest distilleries.

The island of Islay off the West coast of Scotland boasts its own Whisky classification and 7 distilleries in which the sea laps at the walls of many of them. You can really feel the peatness and seaside character of many of its whiskies, in which they are inspired. The richest of its whisky varieties comes from the South of the island, where as the North and West explores more subtle notes.

The South coasts, Ardbeg 10yr possesses a very smoky dry flavor with strong briny tones. If you are after a soft smooth whisky with seaweed hints, balanced with zesty summer character the whisky Bruichladdich 15yr from Scotland’s most westerly distillery is the one to go for. If you would rather a fresher whisky with fresh seaweed and sea air aromas with a gentle nutty maltness then Bunnahabhain 12yr is definably worth a sample. If you after a more earthy, Smokey taste, the capital of Islay produce a whisky in-between the South coasts richness and the North’s milder whiskies. Coal Lla 96 really is the essence of the sea, not to be missed with its explosion of smoky, peppery, earthy and dry peaty flavors. The Rarest of all Islay malted whiskies due to the closure of the distillery in 1980 is the 1982 Port Ellen, boosting classic distillery charm and character, cod liver oil, dried seaweed and smoke making it a well rounded whisky.

For a more intense, punchy flavour of Laphroaig 15yr offers an explosion of sulpur, buring peat and Islay intensity. Defeating any readily available whisky and perhaps the dried and most punchy competitor is the Lagavulin 16yr. This near neighbor of Laphroaig and Ardbeg has an aroma of sea spray and peat smoke with a fully body of peaty dryness complemented with strong salty and seaweed character.

During the next few months we will be exploring the rest of the worlds most renowned whisky regions. All the whiskies featured in this article and upcoming are available to try at The Exmoor White House Inn in the heart of Exmoor. Stayed tuned next month where we will be exploring the heart of Scottish whisky production on Speyside, including inspiring quirky numbers such as the hot and spicy Balmenach 91 with a fiery taste of ginger and smoke and the not to be missed show stopper The Balvenie 10yr Founders Reserve, pale in colour, with sweet honey flavour and a hint of sherry.

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Written by Peter