The Best Smoky Islay Whiskies To Drink This Fall

09.25.17 6 months ago 4 Comments


On the western coast of Scotland sits the island of Islay. The southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, Islay is home to 3,000 people, a lot of sheep, and eight whisky distilleries. This includes famed whisky producers Ardbeg, Lagavulin (Nick Offerman’s favorite distillery), Laphroaig, and Bruichladdich. There are five official (and one unofficial) whisky regions in Scotland. Islay is one of these official regions and is most well-known for a unique flavor that few other distilleries in Scotland feature: Peatiness.

The whisky produced on Islay has a distinct smoky flavor. It gets this from smoked peat — essentially slabs of soil — that is cut and dried before it’s added to kilns in the distilleries to add a smoky, rich flavor to the grains and eventually the whisky itself. The best way to get started enjoying Islay whiskies is by drinking some of the best. You’ll find our favorites below.

Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask

This recent release from Laphroaig features multiple different aged whiskies. This mixture is then matured for five years in new bourbon barrels. Afterwards, the whisky is matured for a second time for six months in quarter casks. The result is a well-balanced whisky with vanilla and caramel sweetness, followed by a thick smoke presence.

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