Day 3 on Islay… Busy tours!

So… Day 3. The southerly distilleries. Some sun, some drams and some pictures (at least I took lots, none for here till I’m home to upload them! – Crappy O2)

First stop of the day, Laphroaig. Fairly busy little tour, which I wasn’t used to, but was expecting. I think there was 12 or more of us, but David the tour guide did a great job of looking after us. Very interesting look around their maltings, the 3rd maltings on the island, out of only 6 that still do it themselves (at leat partly anyway) in Scotland (apart from those already mentioned there’s also Springbank, Highland Park, and The Balvenie). The stills weren’t actually running as they had had a break down earlier in the week and were getting their wort levels back up before getting the stills going again. We had drams of their Quarter Cask (a mix of ages), and I also had the 18 and the Triple Wood. Also, signing up to their Friends of Laphroaig was free and got me another miniature along with the glass I’d already been given with the earlier sample.

Next, on to Ardbeg. Another busy tour, probably closer to 18 people. Interesting distillery, smaller than I’d imagined, not knowing much about them. A good history talk at the start, followed by a look at the mill, the washbacks and the two stills. No look at the filling area, but there was obvious activity with casks whizzing off to warehouses. Very busy by the time we got back to the tasting room where you could take your pick of quite a few different things, but only the one dram was poured each so your had to choose wisely… Luckily I shared with the guy next to me so that we got to try two things. A bit disappointing although understandable with a large group. No distillery only bottlings here.

Lastly, after a visit to the Kildalton Cross up the road for lunch, we headed to Lagavulin. A Diagio company, but I can’t help falling in love with their whisky and the location of the distillery all the same. 😉

Bugger up #2, I thought I was getting a standard (free as a member of Classic Malts) tour… But ended up on the warehouse tour, which cost a bit more than a standard tour. After checking, this time it wasn’t my fault, due to lots of visitors and some requests, they’d put it on specially. However… Very glad I got to do it, a great different tour that I wouldn’t have otherwise done. For the majority of the tour we were based in dunnage warehouse number 1 and were talked though 4 whiskies drawn straight from the cask for us. There were a lot of people on the tour (and more joined after about 15 mins) so maybe 30 odd of us. We started trying new make spirit with glasses we got to keep and a personal bottle of water. We then went on to a 12 year from a second fill, and a 15 year from a 4th fill to compare. Next we had a 19 year from a sherry cask, lastly followed by the Distillers Edition. All good stuff! Sadly no distillery only bottles left, so I bought the Distillers Edition.

Lastly while on the way back we stopped for a few snaps of the Port Ellen warehouses and maltings before driving around to the lighthouse for a wonder and a look around the Oa.

Tomorrow…. Off to Jura and Bruichladdich, journey complete, for this trip anyway! 🙂