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The region of whisky producers known for their strong peaty flavor

Islay malts are the weightiest, most pungent and most heavily peated and are therefore generally the easiest to identify. These malts take their characteristics both from the peat used to dry the barley and their closeness to the sea. These factors give them what is often described as a seaweedy, medicinal taste and a distinct peaty flavor.

Port Ellen Distillery

Established on Islay's south coast in 1825 by A K Mackay and Co., Port Ellen is reputed to have been the first distillery to have incorporated Septimus Fox's spirit safe design into the distillation process.  Its innovations did not stop there, however.  After having been taken over by the shrewd and energetic John Ramsay in 1836, Port Ellen became the first distillery to trade with North America in 1848. Ramsay secured the right to export in larger casks and store the casks in bonded warehouses prior to export, a system which persists to this day. 

Laphroaig Distillery

History The Laphroaig distillery (the name means "the beautiful hollow by the broad bay") was established in 1815, by Alex and Donald Johnston. The 'Johnston' brothers were actually McCabes, of the Clan Donald, who changed their names following the failed Jacobite uprising, and settled on the Isle of Islay. Their descendants ran the distillery until 1887, when it passed to the Hunter family. They in turn ran the distillery until 1954, when Ian Hunter (who had no children) died and left the distillery to one of his managers, Bessie Williamson.

Lagavulin Distillery

Overview Lagavulin Single Malt is a single malt Scotch whisky produced on the island of Islay. It has been described as the "aristocrat" of Islays. It has an unmistakable, powerful, peat-smoke aroma. Described as being robustly full bodied, well-balanced and smooth with a slight sweetness on the palate. The name is a modification of the Gaelic "lag a'mhuilin", meaning "hollow by the mill", and is thus pronounced "lag-a-VOO-lin".

Caol Ila Distillery

History Caol Ila (Gaelic for 'the Sound of Islay') was built in 1846 by Hector Henderson - a Glasgow businessman with a keen interest in distilling. Like Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich, the development of Caol Ila created along with it, a community of its own. Without these distilleries, it is likely that there would have been little sustained human presence in these areas of Scotland at all. The distillery did not fare well, and changed hands in 1854 when Norman Buchanan, owner of the Isle of Jura Distillery, took over.

Bunnahabhain Distillery

  Situated in the North East of the hebridean island of Islay, the tiny village of Bunnahabhain was first established in 1881 to house workers from the malt whisky distillery which stands there to this day and still employs the majority of the inhabitants of the village. Offering stunning views of the neighbouring islands of Jura and Mull, Bunnahabhain is a secluded paradise surrounded by natural beauty.

Bowmore Distillery

Overview Bowmore (pronounced "Boh-more") is a distillery that produces single malt scotch whisky on the isle of Islay, an island of the Inner Hebrides. The distillery, which lies on the South Eastern shore of Loch Indaal, is one of the oldest in Scotland, having been established in 1779.