June 9, 2010
After two attempts at vacation this year (Mayan Riviera and New York) fell through, I finally took the proverbial bull by the horns and booked a trip.
As this was something I would be doing on my own, the options were wide open. I initially considered heading back to Europe (would love to revisit Paris or London…maybe Rome again). I also thought about hitting Thailand with my buddy Paul. I think the foremost destination in mind however, was Egypt. Having seen Scott’s photo montage from his journey there last year, and having my own far-reaching interest in Ancient Egypt, I was nearly decided.
I am still uncertain as to what finally toppled me in a completely different direction. I think it may have been reading ‘Whisky Magazine’. The next thing I knew, I was focusing on Scotland. Islay, in particular. I spoke with David Michiels at Willow Park, who suggested 4 days minimum on Islay. I started to plan for this, thinking that I would then beeline it North (East) for Speyside. There is a nifty little pub in the Inverness region I’d love to check, and how truly epic would it be to sip a Laphroaig at Loch Ness?
I thought better of this little sidetrip in the end. Instead, I will concentrate my entire time away on Islay. This will give me the opportunity to slow down and enjoy Island life the way it was meant to be experienced.
Islay is a small island off the Southwest coast of Scotland. From coast to coast it is 30km by 40km. Just wee. Though miniscule, relatively speaking, Islay is huge in the whisky world. It is home to no less than 8 distilleries (Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnhabhain and Kilchoman), and epitomizes what we know of peated whisky. These bold flavors have long held a spot in my heart (as the gents here will attest), so the opportunity to visit the birthplace of these whiskies was well-nigh undeniable.
So…I have booked a flight to Glasgow. From there I will bus it over to Kennacraig to meet the ferry to either Port Ellen or Port Askaig on Islay. I will most likely settle down in Port Charlotte as a base, and branch out from there. Initial thoughts are to rent a car and have the freedom to go where and when I please. We’ll see.
So far…my only intentions are to slow down…buy a bottle on my first day…sip whiskies along the coastline…tour the distilleries…meet people…take pictures and video.
Gents…I strongly urge you to plead, whine, whimper and beg your spouses and significant others to be allowed to join me.
Details regarding my somewhat…ahem…loose…itinerary will follow in the coming days.
Sounds like a nice trip!. Bon Accord is a great place
Oh, man…this is exactly the trip I want to take sometime! Thanks for sharing the preparation details, and I can’t wait to read about the trip itself. What’s the plan for getting bottles you purchase back home with you? I’d definitely want to purchase something like the Lagavulin Distillery Only bottling while I was there.
Thanks, Jeff. I like your site a lot BTW. Nicely done.
I’ll fill you in on the bottle migration afterwards. And I am with you on the Lag. Can’t wait to see these places and sample something unique there.
Hours are ticking down now – if we don’t cross paths before you head off to Islay, have a hell of a good time! Oh, and bring back something nice, would ya 😉
Yeah..bring back a sample from the Bruichladdich’s Renegade line…y’know…a rum 🙂
Have a great trip.
September 23rd and no update…either the Hippie is lying in a bog somewhere with his nose in the peat trying to remember his name (and ours), he fell into a brewing vat at Bruichladdich and is still trying to finish it, or he is not getting internet access (yeah, right). Of the three, I’m not sure which one I’m more envious about.
Home again, home again. Exhausted and whisky-logged, but happier for it. Did a lot of writing on the island (the old fashioned way), so be patient while I start transferring it over. I’ll break this down into pages for each day. Some features coming too.
Thanks to all who have asked and shown interest.
hurry hurry hurry!