Top 5 Scotch Whiskies From Islay, Scotland Distilleries

Top 5 Scotch Whiskies From Islay, Scotland Distilleries

The last week of May brings one of the whisky world’s best festivals – Fèis Ìle. The annual event defines the whisky calendar for many people and stretches across ten days, bringing the small Hebridean island of Islay to life with whisky and music. Fèis Ìle translates from the local Gaelic language as ‘Islay Festival’ and sees single malt fans from around the globe flocking to the island on a pilgrimage.

Islay is renowned for its peaty and smoky single malt. There is nothing else quite like an Islay whisky in the world of spirits. The island is home to 10 operating distilleries: Bowmore is the oldest, founded in 1779, while at the other end of the scale, Port Ellen only reopened in March 2024. The island offers a crucial glimpse into the history of Scotch whisky through its use of traditional ingredients and working practices, and is also known as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’.

The Fèis Ìle festival sees each distillery host an open day: their day in the sun, so to speak. This traditionally kicks off with Lagavulin Day on the first Saturday and finishes with a huge party for Ardbeg Day. The Jura distillery on the neighbouring island even gets in on the act….

Matt Chambers
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