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Drink a Dram with Delin: A Trip to the Island(s) of Whisky

by Delin Watmough

Well here we are again: the start of another month of restrictions with possibly more coming and I don’t know about you all, but I am getting really tired of it. So with that being said, this month I am going to take everyone to the Islands. Now I am betting right now you are thinking of palm trees, girls in bikinis, and sweet rum punch drinks with umbrellas in them, but you’re wrong. This month I am going to write a blog dedicated to whisky’s from the Islands of Scotland. Windswept, barren places both settled and invaded by Vikings and the only umbrellas you’ll find will be turned inside out by the wind. The island region is a subsection of the Highlands and are well known for many different whisky’s and flavor profiles. (Side note: the Island of Islay is its own region and thus not counted in the Islands). I personally find Island whisky’s very enjoyable so this month I am going to write about 3 different Whisky’s and the Island they call home.

The Isle of Jura

A medium size Island in the inner Hebrides of Scotland measuring 142 square miles and boosting a population of around 200 people that almost all work in the distillery with the exception of those who work in the one hotel and store. This Island carries a deep history of distilling whisky and legend has it that an old lord once banned independent distilling for over 30 years despite the residents ire until he was visited by a Dickens style ghost of a old lady scaring him into lifting the ban. To this day, they keep a bottle of Jura 16 in the cave said to be the home of the whisky loving spirit. Jura makes a huge selection of different whisky’s and while I have heard of some people complaining of inconsistencies I have never had a Jura I didn’t like. I like it so much that this is the whisky I tend to give friends, (that and your can find it in mickey size bottles so you can give a really nice whisky and not break the bank).

Jura 16

This mid gold colored whisky noses like a seaside stand of evergreen trees and on the palate is a syrupy candied fruitcake and finishes with spicy oak and pepper without even a hint of smoke this is a island whisky for everyone.

The Isle of Mull

The second largest island in the Inner Hebrides, this island is well known for its cheese and not so well known for it’s whisky. This island, just like all the others I am writing about, was invaded by the Vikings and was property of Norway until just before the time of Robert du Brus. The only single malt distillery on the island was founded in 1798 is the Tobermory distillery formerly called Ledaig which produces peated single malt half the year and non peated single malt the other half. Ledaig is the peated version of their whisky.

Ledaig 10

A bright gold color leads to a sweet briny smokiness with a mild antiseptic, creosote, wax polish, mint chocolate and soft peat on the nose. On the palate a sweet medicinal flavor with a spicy pepper, and dried fruit complements the rich peaty smoke. This really nice whisky finishes with a union of pepper, sweet licorice and cloves.

The Isle of Skye

The largest island in the Inner Hebrides the Isle of Skye is well known for its rugged landscapes and medieval castles again taken back from the Vikings (or Norway ) in 1266. Later on, this Island was ruled by Clan MacLeod and Clan MacDonald up until the time of the Jacobite Rebellion, which basically broke up the clan system (or tried to, damn English). This Island is home to the Talisker Distillery founded in 1830 and the lease was renegotiated in 1892 with the chief of Clan MacLeod for an annual payment of 23 pounds and a ten gallon cask of best quality Talisker.

Talisker 10

This is a typical coastal single malt which noses fresh and fragrant with smoke, sweet pear and apple peels. On the palate is a bonfire of peat crackling with black pepper and a touch of brine. Finishing with bonfire embers and toasted malt. I really like this whisky but it is not for those who don’t like peat.

Well, that’s it for yet another month and I truly hope you are all well and coping as best you can.

May your days be long and your glasses full


Delin Watmough


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