Most nights on Islay, you were able to find us at the Ardview Inn bar. There aren’t many options when staying at Port Ellen, there’s either the Islay Hotel Bar (that was next to our B&B) or the Ardview Inn, somewhat further down the street. Ardview was our go-to bar, because there it felt like we were actually part of Islay’s community.
It’s a small and cosy pub, where there’s no sign of tourism at all. A mixed company of locals and travelers, brotherly sipping a wee dram or a pint of Guinness and talking about stuff like the ever-changing weather or discussing about whisky.
One of the great things at the bar was the digital jukebox, containing every song you could think of. First we were a little afraid to put locals off, by blasting hardrock and heavy metal through the vulnerable speakers. But instead of getting strange looks, it resulted in great musical discussions. Alternately with the other guests we were requesting songs, which resulted in a nice melange of musical styles. From ABBA to Iron Maiden and from ‘Feel it Still’ to ‘Raining Blood’. The fun we had! We’ve also had some deeper discussions, for example; the plans to build another new distillery on Port Ellen and whether that’s a good or bad idea. Laid back as the residents are, the general consensus was: we’ll see, let’s pour another drink.
The selection of whisky, mostly containing Islay whiskies of course, was incredible and we were happy to taste most of it. One of the whiskies we tasted was the 23yo Bruichladdich Black Art from 1990 (04.1). Exemplary enthusiasts we are, we took out our notebook and wrote the following tasting notes:
Honey coated cookies, citrus, a whiff of smoke, candied fruits, sweet apple and an earthy note of licorice
An explosion of fruity notes and baking spices, containing a fair share of sweet malt and nuts. There’s leather, spicy wood and a nice wine-like influence, gradually changing towards salty toffee, honey and milk chocolate.
Malty and chocolatey, you could say it tastes like Maltesers, red wine infused oak, slightly drying with a nice whiff of sweet smoke.
What a dram, we couldn’t think of a better moment and place, it’s just magical. If we had to describe what happiness is, it’s these evenings on Islay, we wish we could stay there forever.