Last week I was in Scotland. Oh my. What a trip.
If you like Scotch, you probably have an opinion on Islay. The whiskies that come from this small island off the southwest coast of Scotland are considered either:
(1) OMIGOD SOMETHING IS ON FIRE!
(2) The pinnacle of Scotch whisky
Or somewhere in between. Depends on who you ask.
They are famously known for a few distilleries who use a fair bit of peat to dry their barley during the whole production process. Peat, as you know, is that mass of compounding organic matter: plants, soil, other bits. Peat is harvested from the ground and cut into bricks, dried, and then can be used as a heat source.
Islay is known for their peat bogs and their history of using peat as an energy source.
We had been in Edinburgh. I had flown in Sunday afternoon. That particular day in Edinburgh was a bit stormy and when my plane landed the winds were blowing at around 30-35 miles an hour. The flight was fine except when we hit the runway and the plane did that crazy jerking side to side. It was, um, a horrifying landing.
We left Edinburgh and drove to Glasgow to hop on the 20 minute flight out to Islay.
Sit on the right side of the plane and try to get a window seat because most times, the planes fly in from the southeast (as you’d expect) and you can the three southern distilleries from the air: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.
Kind of magical. But, then again, we were drinking whisky. Islay is sleepy. It is quiet. There seems to always be a faint whiff of peat smoke mixed with salt air. We were staying the town of Port Ellen.
We had a full day at the Ardbeg distillery. We went on hikes. We saw otters. We ate oysters. We tasted whisky from barrels. We saw stills. We ate scones fresh out of the oven. Apparently in the UK there is a bit of a debate on how to eat scones: cream first and then jam. Or jam first and then cream.
It was a brilliant day.
That evening we drove over to Port Charlotte and ate very well. So well, I can’t recall a single thing I ate. But, I’ll assume I ate lamb as that’s what I do when in Scotland.
I’m going to shut up. Let’s look at photos.