The Islay Whisky Experience
This tour takes you away to the wonderful and enchanting island of Islay. A fabulous holiday which includes stunning scenery, ancient history, traditional culture and 8 of Scotland’s finest malt whisky distilleries... what more could you ask for?
- Kilmartin Glen
- Ferry to Islay
- Distillery tours
- Cask tasting at Lagavulin
- Whisky tastings at Ardbeg and Bruichladdich
- Kildalton Cross
- Loch Fyne
We spend the day travelling to the “Queen of the Hebrides” – Islay. From Scotland’s capital we head west to our first single malt distillery (Deanston or Auchentoshan).
As we continue the tour, breathtaking views unfold as we turn north along Loch Lomond’s western shore and, if we are lucky, we’ll see the slopes of Ben Lomond rising above the water. This is Rob Roy Country and, as we leave the loch side and wind our way up into the Highlands, your guide will entertain you with tales of cattle rustling and ancient Highland Clans.
The tour now follows the stunning coastline before heading to Kilmartin Glen where over 5000 years of history are waiting to be discovered. See standing stones, ancient burial mounds and stone carvings before continuing down the Kintyre Peninsula to Kennacraig, to catch the evening ferry to Islay.
After arrival on the island it’s only a short drive to our accommodation for the next 3 nights where you can enjoy a well-earned whisky!
Example accommodation: www.portcharlottehotel.co.uk
Days 2 and 3
With two full days to explore the island, you are spoilt for choice of things to do. The exact itinerary on each day will be dictated by the weather and your guide. This allows for as much flexibility as possible, in order to get the most from your Islay experience.
To find out more about what makes Islay whiskies so special, we will visit a number of the island’s distilleries and take a guided tour. There will, of course, be an opportunity to sample the whisky during these visits, as well as tastings at some distilleries we don’t have time to take a full tour at.
Islay is home to some of the world’s most famous whiskies: the smoky and peaty Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin, on the south coast; the lighter Bruichladdich, near Port Charlotte; Bowmore, the oldest working distillery on Islay; Kilchoman, the newest and smallest, and the biggest producer on the island; Caol Ila.
Along the way, we will discover why Islay is famous for so much more than whisky. A visit to the Kildalton Cross will transport us back in time more than 1200 years and we will discover the ancient seat of the Lords of the Isles at Finlaggan.
Wildlife abounds on Islay so eyes open for golden eagles, seals, otters, whales, dolphins, wild geese, red deer and much more. Discover traditional villages clinging to the rough Atlantic coastline, ruined castles, golden beaches and a proud Gaelic culture as we explore the most amazing of Hebridean Islands.
Leaving Islay on the morning ferry, we say farewell and pass 3 distilleries clinging to the rocky south coast. Arriving back on the mainland we begin the journey back to Edinburgh. On the way home we drive along Loch Fyne to the beautiful village of Inveraray, home of the infamous Clan Campbell. Stopping here is an opportunity to enjoy a traditional lunch in a local pub or restaurant or stock up on whisky at the world-famous Loch Fyne Whisky Shop.
Leaving the coast, we now turn inland and over the high mountain pass of The Rest and Be Thankful. As the road twists and turns through the Trossachs we will be rewarded with some exceptional scenery. It is now just a short drive to Edinburgh where you will leave the tour feeling relaxed and refreshed after discovering one of Scotland’s best kept secrets – the secret that is the Isle of Islay.