I thought I would post my comments on my visit to Islay.
I arrived at Port Ellen at 8 at night so didn't do much but enjoyed seeing a glimpse of the promised land (Ardbeg) from the ferry.
On my first day I decided to head to Bowmore, unfortunately there were no tours (due to extensive repairs) but they were putting on a video presentation and tasting (3 bowmores) instead, and its free, well done Bowmore! That was good and quite informative.
If you are planning a trip to Islay best to avoid July as that is when most distilerries close for repairs or due to staff holidays.
In the afternoon I took the bus round to Bruichladdie, a nice place and a good tour.
Also they were not shy handing out the drams after the tour which were taken straight from a cask in front of our eyes.
That night I walked along to view Lagavullin and Laphroig, really beautiful places.
The following day, cometh the master ARDBEG.
However I must say the tour and hospitality was a little dissapointing (Thank God there whisky is the best) there was no Jackie Thompson tour, instaed another girl.
Very much catered for someones first ever tour of a distillery. I did see Jackie Thompson (whisky magazine award winner) and order some drinks at the cafe and all I can say she wasn't an award winner with me that day.
It was great to see the Ardbeg distilerry for the first time and maybe I will go back in a couple of years.
Also I did sneak in to the old Port Ellen distillery and its in a mess, no chance of the old girl getting going again which is a big shame.
Overall impression of my visit to Islay was very good, I hope to see Cao Illa and Bunnaharbin next time.
Also my B&B was SUPERB and the owner was the manager at Ardbeg in the seventies.
If anyone wants to know the address etc. just leave a message.
Thanks for reading
I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your visit to Ardbeg , i think your the only person i've heard of who didn't!
Jackie rarely does tours , this week was the first time i'd seen her taking one ,by the sounds of it you had the delightful Emma (in the past i've had Stuart ,Emma and John for tours all great in their own little way ). All i can say is you must have caught Jackie on a very rare off day , because most people will tell you she is the goddess of Ardbeg Distillery .I'm surprised you didn't try any of the food , its always delicious.
I've done all of the tours on Islay and i would say Ardbeg along with the Laddie is by far the best , with Caol Ila being the worst (could have been a bad day for the guide ?) but there's one thing for sure you always get a great welcome on the island .
I dont know the name of the guy who did our tour there, but here is a image of him:
It was the *best* distillery tour I ever had. Finally not the "(numbers + salestalk)*hardly understandable guide = tour", but one that is full of humour...
Wont ever fporget the "Emma pulled the plug" joke from our guide, even though Emma is our hero! (she found back our lost hotel key's a day earlier)
And the food... Highly recommendable, me and my girlfriend had a steak, absolutely the best one ever had, the complimentary dram of the tourguid eonly made it better.
You must have had a bad day indeed. I ahd a similar one at Glengoyne, according to the "visitting distilleries"book it should be a very interesting, and full of humour. It was the most dull ever I had, from a guide I maybe understood 5 words from (she had a VERY low volume voice, not working in a production distillery).
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