Islay Diary - Day 6

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A fairly quiet morning following yesterday’s cask-strength madness, which is to be expected. But around lunchtime, we decided to go up to Laphroaig.

This journey was just to pick up some more of the cask strength 10 year old, but I did have a dram of it while I was there! Well, it’s important to check what you’re buying, after all.

For me, this is one of the island’s best whiskies and although shipped around the world, in Scotland and the rest of the UK, it’s only available at the distillery. Utter madness. As a result, I have to stock up every time I’m on Islay – not only for myself, but for friends who also can’t get enough of this potent elixir.

This year's Batch 10 release was bottled back in January and weighs in at 58%. I always like to add at least a few drops of water to a dram - just to see how things change. However, I love the cask strength 10 neat. It really smacks you in the chops and a little goes a very long way.

I also picked up a Laphroaig-branded water jug from the shop and it was then off to the shore to take the obligatory snaps of the distillery and then we were off back to the house for lunch. That’s me in the picture below, just in case you were wondering.

With only a few more days to go on Islay and a mountain of food still to be chomped through, we made a small dent in the cheese, and had added crisps, baguettes, ham and various cheese-based snacks. There’s a theme here, can you tell?

A relaxing afternoon followed before we were picked up by a taxi in the early evening to take us to the Bridgend Hotel for dinner.

A couple of gin and tonics were ordered when we arrived before we made our way into the sun-filled dining room. For starters I had Islay Estate smoked lamb, while my wife went for cullen skink. For the main course, I chose the grilled sea bass fillet and my wife had lamb with a whisky cream and homemade haggis.

That lot was washed down with a bottle or red and although stuffed, we managed to cram in some desserts in the shape of lemon posset with gingerbread and a raspberry cheesecake. 

Later, back in the hotel bar, we bumped into Chris from Lagavulin and discovered his wife works at Bridgend. Chris is a member of the Islay choir and had just come from practice. They’ll be at this year’s MOD in October so keep your eyes peeled.

Before the taxi came to pick us up, I ordered a tasty and surprisingly refreshing Bruichladdich Bere Barley from 2009.

The stars were out on the journey home and as we came into Port Ellen, a huge moon hung over the town casting its glow across the water. It was spectacular and I spent five minutes star gazing and wishing I had packed my binoculars. Ah well. Next time.

Just the one dram tonight before hitting the hay - a Gordon & McPhail Caol Ila.