Day 3 of the #IslayRoadTrip with Steve (@steveprentice) and Jon (@dvdbloke) started with some cereal for breakfast, it would have been too much to have made some bacon etc ourselves feeling the way we did at the time, we had partaken of a few drams the night before.
We left around 8:45 ish and made our way back to the ferry port at Port Askaig for our trip over to Jura Distillery (distillery 8). The short ferry trip is an interesting one and only takes 5 or so minutes to cross the fast running water between Islay and Jura.
Onto the sunny Isle of Jura, and i was already excited as we drove the one single track round to Craighouse and parked a bit along from the distillery. What a beautiful place this is!!!!
We arrived for our tour, which was with the lovely Danielle, who took us back outside and over to some benches overlooking the pier and bay, for a chat and a dram of Turas Mara. We explained a bit more about who we were and then allowed Danielle to show us the distillery without having to do much of the standard touristy stuff, drams of Elixir, 16 year old and Prophecy followed as we asked the usual blogger questions and nosed around the distillery.
Back in the visitors centre we sampled a few more Jura drams, I’ve not included notes on these below as i have a few other Jura’s to finish some notes on and will post a large Jura vertical in the coming weeks. Some of the highlights however included Water and Fire from the Jura Elements series (I bought a bottle of Fire), Jura Tastival and a cracking 1999 heavily peated Jura which was exclusively for the Chinese market.
Some pics outside followed by some shots on one of the nearby piers, what a beautiful place this is.
I loved it here, it was one of my favourite moments of our trip and a real highlight for me, next time i want to spend a bit more time on Jura including at the Jura Hotel hoping to try some more interesting Jura’s
We have arrived
Knock Knock Knocking on Heavens Door
Turas Mara By in the Sunshine
Second tallest stills in Scotland
Me at my favourite Distillery
What a Beautiful Place Jura is!!!!
We then headed back to Islay and initially down to Caol Ila (distillery 9) for a look around the shop, unfortunately the distillery was closed due to the sudden death of an employee, thoughts go out to their families friends and colleagues, so we then headed towards Port Ellen for the rest of the days activities, a quick stop off at the Islay Woolen Mill for some presents for the better half, Islay Ales for some beers and a shop in Bowmore for lunch supplies and we were off again.
Next stop was Lagavulin (distillery 10) where we stopped to visit the shop, pick up some bottles and to spend some time having some lunch looking out over the pier to Lagavulin Bay. this really is one of the most beautiful locations i’ve ever been to in Scotland.
Jon and Steve at Lagavulin
Is that a Steve I See?
Not a bad view from the Pier
That iconic sight
We then travelled a mile or two up the road to Ardbeg (distillery 11) where we were booked in for our tour. We met up with Jackie Thomson the Visitor Centre Manager who took us into the little tasting room and we sat and had one of the best whisky chats I’ve ever had, Jackie is so enthusiastic about whisky it makes it obvious why she has previously won Visitors Centre Manager of the year.
We sat and chatted about the wonders of Ardbeg whilst sipping on this wonderful 1964-1996 Ardbeg left by a recent visitor who was celebrating his 50th Birthday
1964 Ardbeg, OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG this is AWESOME!!!
This truly was my dram of the trip, it was special, very special, and although again I took the decision to not take any notes, I can say this was sweet sherried fruity with hints of earthy smokiness that really shone through, a truly spectacular dram.
We then toured the distillery, unfortunately not the warehouses as being a Saturday they were closed, but getting some real insights as we went round and hearing the enthusiasm for whisky and Ardbeg in particular from Jackie you can do nothing but fall in love with this wonderful distillery.
Moving back to the visitors centre we had a wee tasting comprising Still Young, 1974 Single Cask, 1975 Single Cask, 1989 Single Cask, Galileo and the new 2014 Kildalton.
being that the new 2014 Kildalton was only available to buy at the distillery I couldn’t help but buy a bottle, and the fact Mickey Head, the Ardbeg distillery manager, turned up and I ended up getting my bottle signed and dated made it even better.
Huge thanks to Jackie for taking so much time out of her day to spend with us here and for the Clootie Dumpling which was sublime. Ardbeg is a brilliant location and I’d very much recommend you visit here if on Islay. Although we didn’t eat at the cafe everyone we spoke to recommended it, so make sure you get some food here too.
Iconic, Stunning, Pagoda
Jon, Steve and I
I still snigger everytime i see "boby" lol
It's always Ardbeg Time
Lots of sunshine in the Washbook room
Who locked the door
By this time it was getting late in the day and we were too late for the visitors centre at Laphroaig (distillery 12), but we decided to pop down to the shoreline for some pics anyway, and on our way back up to the car we were spotted by the stillman, who after a chat let us have a quick nosey in the stillhouse. Thats customer service for you!
I think there is a Jon There
I love how friendly folks on Islay are
Can we fit these in the car?
We then headed back to Bowmore, stopping at the Nippy Chippy for food, before meeting up with Andrew from Bowmore House for a few drams and beers at the Lochside.
Another fabulous Day on Islay, and our last evening here, will be sad to go home tomorrow and will miss these two guys who i’ve really enjoyed being around for the last few days.
For Day 2 (ish) I would like to thank the guys at Jura, Ardbeg and Bruichladdich for their hospitality and for treating us to a very special time away.