Scotland’s national tipple, whisky, is woven into the fabric of the country’s culture and customs.
Historically used for medicinal purposes and prescribed for the relief of colic, palsy and smallpox, whisky has drink made its way into the social sphere in Scotland as a warming pick-me-up during the harsh winters. And what is more warming on a cold winter’s day than a wee dram?
For many visitors to Scotland a pilgrimage to the distilleries that litter the country is a must and one region, Islay, is among the most beautiful and inspiring for whisky-lovers.
Islay is the mystical, magical island in Scotland’s Southern Hebrides that boast eight active distilleries, countless world renowned blends and malts and its own whisky classification, protected by Scots law. With a population of just over 3,000, Islay produces some of the finest whiskies in the world, best known for smoky, phenolic spirits, such as Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.
These have been distilled in its rocky coves of the sheltered east coast for more than 200 years. But in truth Islay produces a dram for every palette, and their vibrant and expanding whisky industry is a constant source of renewed excellence and taste innovation.
If you can’t make it to Scotland quite yet, a new book by whisky writer Fiona Rintoul and photographer Konrad Borkowski offers a unique portrait of what makes Islay whisky totally unique.
A beautiful book features 180 outstanding, full-colour photographs of Islay distilleries in every season and is a celebration of the whiskies of Islay and Jura, and of the islands that shaped them, as well as tasting notes on the main malts and blends.