As mentioned in my summary post, unfortunately the two northerly distilleries were closed for our visit.
|Caol Ila from the Jura ferry|
Caol Ila has been having a refit over the last year. With a capacity of 4.7 million litres a year it was already the bigegst player on the island, this refit will enable it to produce a whopping 6.2million litres. It should now be reopened, so pop along to check if you're on the island.
Most of their whisky is tankered off of the island for use in blends and is peated at about 40ppm like its sister distillery Lagavulin. They also produce a small amount of unpeated malt. Very little of their whisky is aged on the island, the space instead used by Lagavulin.
The unpeated variety is interesting, unlike other unpeated Islay drams Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain there's still some vegetal notes in there that can only come from the water as there's no peat used in the production of the malt. Its quite subtle in flavour and doesn't need any water adding in my opinion.
|From the Bunnahabhain website|
The 12 y/o Bunnahabhain on the other hand is a product of the sea. Still aged on the island it has briny and seaweed notes with the finish of old ropes. Its quite harsh as it comes and I preferred it with a splash of water to open up the sweeter flavours hidden within.
They were closed on my visit for their Easter holidays! Well, we all need a break from work; so I don't blame them. Its the most remote of the distilleries; so is a trek down a bumpy track to reach it.
Both of these will be first on my "to visit" list for future Islay visits.
You'll be pleased to here that concludes my write-ups of distillery visits for the time being, but as they've been fairly well received I can't promise there won't be further whisky related posts in the future. Consider yourself warned!