Island Collection

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THE ISLANDS

 

The Islands of Skye, Jura, and Mull to the west, Arran in the southwest, and Orkney in the north are far more similar in their terrain than in the whiskies they distill. Generally, these islands produce somewhat peaty and smoky malts - some similar to Islay whiskies and some more closely resembling the complex Northern Highland whiskies. The more notable malts are Scapa (Orkney), Highland Park (Orkney), and Talisker (Skye).

The Island of Skye has just one distillery. Talisker takes its name from a nearby farm, the distillery was built in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and expanded in 1900. Talisker is known for its high peat content and peppery finish.

Similarly, the Island of Jura also has only one distillery, situated in Craighouse on the east coast. With an area of 142 square miles, and less than 200 inhabitants it is a place of formidable solitude. The largest employer on the island is the Isle of Jura distillery, with a workforce of 12. Unlike other Island whiskies, Isle of Jura is lightly peated with a subtle acacia honey aftertaste.

The Isle of Mull, or simply Mull, is the second largest island in the Inner Hebrides chain. The island has a mountainous core, the highest peak called Ben More. Tobermory distillery is the lone distillery there and produces two malts - Tobermory and Ledaig. Originally a brewery founded in 1798, it was converted 50 years later to a distillery and has gone through long periods of inactivity throughout its history. The Tobermory single malt is distilled from unpeated malted barley, getting its lightly peated flavor only from the water. Ledaig is distilled from heavily peated malted barley and dried with peat fires, leading to a superior single malt with a distinctive peaty, smoky taste.

South and west is the Isle of Arran, with one of the youngest distilleries in Scotland, Arran. The seventh largest Scottish island, its terrain mimics that of the mainland with mountains, plains, lakes and valleys. Arran Single Malt Whisky is known for its dryness and lightness with hints of vanilla and fruit.

Lastly, in the extreme north of Scotland lie the Isles of Orkney, a chain of 70 islands situated in a wet and windy climate. With an annual rainfall average of 33"-37", and a remarkably steady temperature range of 46 - 54 degrees F, it is ideal for agriculture. Two distilleries are located here, Scapa and Highland Park. Faced with closure in 2004, Scapa was saved by a decision to refurbish and restore the distillery and maintain it only as a small single malt operation. Using unpeated malted barley, Scapa is a lighter whisky with a distinctive maritime character. Highland Park is currently the northernmost distillery in Scotland by a half a mile, and it peats its malted barley with locally cut peat from Hobbister Moor. The peat is mixed with heather before being used to fuel the fires that dry the malt. This results in a highly acclaimed whisky, with a full-bodied floral sweetness, and a malty, smoky, sherry character.

 

Abhainn Dearg

    

Arran

    

Highland Park

    

Isle of Jura

Raasay

 

Scapa

 

Talisker

 

Tobermory

Torabhaig