Being the fifth-largest Scottisch island and most southern island of the Inner Hebridean islands with a total area of 620 square kilometers, Islay (pronounced as ‘Eye-lah’), is the spiritual home of the malt whisky. The island had become part of the Gealic Kingdom of Dál Riata during the Early Middel Ages before being absorbed in the Norse Kingdom of the Isles. Islay later become part of the Kingdom of Scotland and was ruled by the Clan Donald Lordship of the Isles, originally centred at Finlaggan. Even today, the ‘Queen of the Hebrides’, has something epic, ancient and wild; tormented by strong winds and a pounding ocean.
It is believed, that the first Scotch whiskies came from Islay and that the knowledge of distilling Aqua Vitae crossed the 31 kilometers from Ireland to the Scottish islands. The oldest record of a legal distillery on Islay refers to Bowmore in 1779.
Islay is known for its clean, fresh water and fertile lands and of course for the fact that 1/3 of the island is covered by peat bogs. The distilleries on the southern part of Islay produce malts with a strong peaty flavor. From east to west they are Ardbeg, Lagavulinand Laphroaig. On the north of the Island Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte, Caol Ilaand Bunnahabhainare produced and a substantially lighter in taste. Kilchoman, opened in 2005, is a microdistillery towards the west coast of the Rinns.