Islay Tasting


For a long time now I had been intending to organise a tasting that includes each of Islay’s eight distilleries, and tonight the time had finally come. Known for its distinctively peaty, smoky whiskies, the island of Islay is often considered a whisky region in its own right. This is no wonder, as the island lives and breathes whisky, providing the lifeblood for a population of just over 3000 people. Peat bogs are ubiquitous, the salty sea breeze can be felt anywhere and the sight of a distillery’s chimney is never far away.

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Bunnahabhain Eirigh Na Greine

bunnahabhain-eirigh-na-greine-01Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Region: Islay
Age: No age statement
abv: 46.3%

Bunnahabhain distillery is a bit of a rarity on Islay, given that most of its whiskies are unpeated. This fact does not make it the ugly duckling of the island however, as Bunnahabhain produces some very enjoyable whiskies, with the 12 and 18 year olds being a particular delight. Over past years, the distillery has been adding limited editions to their core range, with Gaelic names such as Darach Ùr, Ceòbanach, Toiteach and Cruach Mhona. This particular release has been finished in casks that previously held red wine, giving the whisky an extra layer of fruity, spicy influences. Eirigh Na Greine is Gaelic for ‘Morning Sky’, which is reflected in the stunning red packaging of this expression. For a distillery that’s located on Islay’s eastern shores and faces the sunrise every day, this is of course more than appropriate. This is my first tasting of this whisky, so let’s hope the Eirigh Na Greine does not prove to be a false dawn!

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