Still being impressed by the wonderful journey, let’s start off with where the journey began. With the help of Puffin Travel, we plotted our trip a while ago.
While there are easier methods to travel to Islay, we were advised to fly to Glasgow, take the bus to Kennacraig and take the ferry to Port Ellen. Roughly a 9 hour travel. Joy, the owner of our B&B, told us that this is the only way to be sure you’ll arrive on time. You can of course take a plane from London and fly straight to Islay. But with the weather being turbulent and unpredictable out there, you’ll never know. You have a big chance of missing your transfers or having the plane to not fly at all, so you’ll have to book something else for the night. A big plus with traveling by bus and ferry is that you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Highlands and Islands. And boy, you don’t want to miss this.
The bus took us in 3 hours from Glasgow to Tarbert. We drove past Loch Lomond, along Loch Fyne, made a stop at Inveraray and finally hopped off in a place called Tarbert, where we lunched in the picturesque harbour. Finally we grabbed a taxi and boarded the ferry in Kennacraig. The name of this Ferry was Isle of Arran, on which – of course – we went for a dram of Arran, the 14yo that is.
Being drawn to the beautiful views of the Scottish coast and wild sea, we enjoyed the dram to its fullest.
First on the nose: a tropical tornado of pineapple, peaches, pear and fudge.
The palate brings more sweetness, with another hint of pineapple and lots of soft, creamy and lightly salted fruits. Even a slight hint of peat, or is that just because we were approaching Islay?
The finish is full, sweet and lengthy, warm, earthy and very fruity. We really liked this one!
And just after we finished our drams, we saw heaven. The dark and cloudy sky cracked open and rays of glowing sunshine were raining upon the coast of Islay. Almost like the scotch angels were lighting our way.
One by one, we saw Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig appearing on the horizon. It was a magical moment and it felt like we were on a sort of pilgrimage.
Soon after that, we arrived at Port Ellen, which is hard to miss. With the old distillery, warehouse and the large Port Ellen Maltings factory situated on the left side. Here, a lot of malted barley is made for the Islay distilleries. We stayed at Askernish B&B, just down the road. Joy, the owner, made us feel immediately at home. Little did we know that she’s just one of the many residents of Islay who is able to make you feel like you’re family.