Sorry again for being so far away from my blog this past week. School started up again and getting everything sorted has been pretty time consuming. There are just two more posts left for Scotland (click here to catch up on all the others!). Today I’d love to catch you up with the Isle of Islay! After our trip up in Kinloss and all around up north we rested for an evening with Jenna’s parents in Glasgow (Point B) before heading to the Isle of Islay (Point J) the next day. Getting to the Island involved a few hours drive to the port in Kennacraig where we took a ferry to Askaig on Islay.
Waiting for the ferry nearby in Inveraray . . .
This time on the ferry we took the car along with us which was pretty cool . . .
We took a later ferry and by the time we got into Askaig and drove to Lagavulin it was twilight. In Lagavulin we stayed in storm pods which were pretty awesome! They are like a mini cabin complete with a small kitchen and bathroom.
Now the main reason for our trip to Islay was to complete part of our bucket list. A while ago, Scott and his best friend Ariel (from the twins post!) each decided to buy a bottle of Laphroaig whisky. Now with this purchase you were also given a square foot plot of land on the grounds of the distillery. From then it became one of Scott’s dreams to go to Laphroaig and visit his plot of land – his biggest regret is that Ariel couldn’t join him! So the first order of business that morning in Islay was to get to Laphroaig distillery after enjoying the morning . . .
Jenna had called ahead of time to book our tour – and to our great luck only the four of us had booked a tour for that time. The tour was amazing and it totally felt like a private tour! Laphoraig is so unique and full of so much heritage. For example, they are one of only a handful of distilleries left in the world that malts their own barely. Most distilleries now a days contract this process out. Laphroaig whisky has a distinctive peaty taste that is not for everyone. Scott loves this taste and it’s by smoking the barley with peat soil that gives the whisky this peaty flavor.
The tour started off in their tasting room and on the barrels was written Laphroaig’s history. They age their whisky in bourbon barrels and we found out that Laphroaig uses Maker’s Mark (how cool is that Dad?):
From here we went to where the ingredients are distilled. At this point while everything is fermenting a lot of CO2 is released causing gas bubbles. Our tour guide opened up the tanks for us to see in side. She told us to take a sniff and boy were we in for a surprise – basically we were breathing in all CO2 so we all got a sharp sting that ran right to our brains! We all experienced first hand why oxygen is so important! After that she put a metal pitcher into the tanks and we were allowed to taste what the whisky tastes like at the stage – pretty cool.
Then it was time for the tasting!! The Friends of Laphroaig lounge was really chill and classy so we thought we’d look the part . . .
Our time here was far from over. After the private tour and the tasting, we were off to visit our plots. Before coming, Dave also registered a plot of land, and because Jenna and I visited the brewery we too could get a plot of land!! We got our plot of land next to each other : ) Now, the best part about all of this is that you get to pick out a flag to put on your plot, are given a pair of wellingtons, and then are given a GPS to locate your property – oh and plus a free dram as payment for rent from the distillery!
Jenna and I with our self designed flag of “Jennaland!” We chose to put a unicorn (for Scotland) and an eagle wings (for America) to make our flag extra awesome!
Next we found Nick’s plot. Our brother-in-law also bought a bottle so of course we had to find it and claim it for him – a victory for Nick and for America!! Sadly though Dave and Scott got injured on his plot and are going to file a law-suit! Oh we’re so silly : )
Oh and in case you couldn’t tell – but lets be honest how could you not tell – Jenna on the right is pretending to be a unicorn and I on the left am being an eagle – long last Jennaland! Sadly this meant our time at Laphroaig was over but our day was not. We were off just 5 min down the road to another distillery called Ardbeg for a wee tasting . . .
After this we relaxed and soaked in the scenery of our last night on Islay. This little island and all the memories we made there has made it one of my favorite places to be in the world. I could see myself disappearing on this island with its rocks, grass, peat, sheep, distilleries, and brisk breezes.