Vignettes ‘Moments in Whisky’ Trip to Islay by Mark Dermul– Part 4 of 4 – Scotch Whisky News

Trip to Islay – Part 4 of 4

by Mark Dermul

We had concluded our distillery visits on Islay – all 8 of them, obviously – and drove to Port Askaig to be ferried back to the mainland. And while there is not much to see at Port Askaig, the ferry’s arrival is a sight to behold, especially when the sun is out, the sky is a cobalt blue and your backdrop is the Isle of Jura with its three peaks known s the Paps.

13 port askaig

As wild as the sea was during our trip from Kennacraig to Islay, the return leg was the exact opposite. The sea was like a mirror. Once we left the coast of Islay and the captain turned the bow of the ship towards the open sea, we were treated to a wonderful show by bottlenose dolphins, puffs and seagulls. But halfway through the crossing, a big mist made it almost impossible to see anything and it was like sailing into a grey wall. A bit spooky, to be honest.

An added bonus, though, was the fact that the Scottish flag on the bow was being replaced. Being in the right place at the right time, I rescued the flag from being dumped in the bin and becoming a lovely souvenir or our trip to Islay.

14 flag

Once back in Kennacraig, we were again marveling at the beautiful scenery driving all the way back to Glasgow. Via Tarbert to Inveraray to the north and then back south along Loch Lomond. There is ample opportunity to stop along the way to make some stunning photos.

15 landscape

Back in Glasgow, we needed to take the plane back to Holland for the drive back home in Belgium, but… one more stop was scheduled. After all… I am the Toshan Man. I cannot possibly travel through Glasgow and not visit my home away from home: Auchentoshan distillery.

It’s true, I have visited this distillery quite a few times now. But when the opportunity arose to visit the distillery before official opening hours and get a historically themed tour from Stevie, this was something we could not possibly pass upon. Ah, it’s always good to visit the distillery of your favorite malt.

What better way to finish our Scottish adventure, eh?

16 auchentoshan

This trip to Islay was one I will not easily forget. And it’s not just for the whisky distilleries that it is worth a visit. Islay is beautiful in its own right and well worth traveling to. I for one will certainly return.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my better half Sofie and my friends Niek & Ilse for joining me on this memorable trip. But also all the staff at the Harbour Inn who took such good care of us during our stay at their wonderful hotel in Bowmore. Last but not least I would like to offer a big thank you to all the distillery staff and tour guides who tirelessly and good naturedly allowed us to ask questions, make fun, do crazy stuff (not for publication), taste and enjoy and made this trip a dream come true.

God save the Queen… of the Hebrides!

May the Malt be with you! *The previous articles were published on October 15th, 22nd, & 29th).

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