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The Whisky Islands: Whisky Galore and More

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Sonja Jones

Explore the Whisky Islands for an Alternative Whisky Pilgrimage

As we continue our tour of Scotland’s whisky regions we head to the Whisky Islands, namely Mull, Skye, Arran & Jura. These four islands produce an interesting range of whiskies and, despite the fact that Islay gets a special region of its own, we think they are worth exploring for their beauty and whisky production.

Whisky Island Arran

Arran by Bike

Arran, nestled in the firth of Clyde, is often described as Scotland in miniature. On this tiny island you can climb a Corbett, feast on tasty produce from cheese to haggis to whisky, visit castles and explore dramatic coastlines with beautiful beaches. It packs a punch as a destination all of this own, and in the past the island was home to dozens of illicit stills.

On our Island Explorer road cycling adventure we make our way to the lovely village of Lochranza where you’ll find the fully-above-board Arran Distillery – the island’s only one. Before hopping on the ferry you should experience the fruity sweetness of barley in the Arran malt so you can compare it to Islay’s punchier dram later. And while you’re enjoying your whisky make sure you look up as you’ll be in with a good chance of spotting a pair of Golden Eagles that nest nearby.


Whisky Islands Jura

Jura on Foot

Taking a walking tour of the Isle of Jura is just as intriguing. Jura means Deer and there are around 7,000 of them on the island – in fact they outnumber people by around 30 to 1. The island and its waters are teeming with wildlife – look out for porpoises, otters, eagles and many other types of sea bird.

Author George Orwell was a one time residence and wrote is famous dystopian novel 1984 here while suffering terribly from tuberculosis. Again there is just one distillery and in 2014 it launched an 1984 inspired Jura malt.

Whisky Islands Skye

Skye on Foot

That Talisker whisky is made by the sea seems obvious with its distinctive maritime flavours of salt and smoke. On our Isle of Skye walking tour we’ll take you on a walk around Talisker Bay to work up a thirst for your dram; passing the impressive rocky Preshal Mor before emerging at the southern end of the bay.


Whisky Islands Mull

Tobermory, Mull. Credit: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

Mull by Bike

Like Talisker the Tobermory malts of Mull try to capture the unique spirit of the island. The distillery is going through some renovations and production is on hold for the next two years but the visitors centre is still open and tours still taking place. And rest assured they have plenty of stock for you to taste and purchase.


Whisky Islands - Eriskay

Whisky washed ashore on Eriskay in 1941. Credit: P. Tomkins/Visit Scotland

Eriskay on Foot

While the Isle of Eriskay doesn’t actually produce whisky it warrants a visit if only to hear about the real events that inspired the novel and film Whisky Galore. (A new version is back out in cinemas this week.) On our walking tour of Outer Hebrides we take a detour to Eriskay so you can persuade the local landlord to let you try a taste of a 70 year old bottle of whisky. If that’s not enough then perhaps you’d rather go scavenging on the beach as rumour has it the island still holds a cache of the illicit whisky that washed up in 1941.

Explore our trips to the Whisky Islands and find a new perspective for enjoying your malt. Slainte!

About the author

Sonja Jones

Sonja left the big smoke behind to focus on combining two of her great loves: Scotland and storytelling.

Read more articles by Sonja

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