Our Favourite Islay Distilleries

A photo of some distillery barrels

Visiting Whisky Distilleries on Islay

Asides from Islay’s stunning natural beauty, if there’s one thing our island can hold a claim to fame about. And that’s producing world class malt whisky! Of course, with eight distilleries on the island alone, it can be hard to know where to begin. But don’t worry, we’re here to give you an insight into our favourite whisky distilleries on Islay.

NEWEST: Kilchoman Distillery

Right on the doorstep of our very own Kilchoman Cottages, is the aptly named Kilchoman Distillery. This is a relatively new player to the Islay whisky scene, arriving in 2005. The first new distillery to the island in 124 years!

The Kilchoman Distillery is unique because they hand-craft their whisky from barley that they grow on their own farm land, on site. Making it Scotland’s only Single Farm Single Malt. It’s also one of only a few remaining independent whisky distilleries.

OLDEST: Bowmore Distillery

If you’re staying at Tarbert House B&B, you’re very close to Bowmore Distillery. This is the oldest distillery on Islay, dating from 1779 or even earlier. 

This is a wonderful place to take a tour (there are several to choose from) and learn about whisky history and heritage. It’s also home to the Bowmore Whisky Tasting Bar. A welcoming bar with spectacular views across Loch Indaal, and experts on hand to help you find your perfect dram.

LARGEST: Caol Ila Distillery

If whisky is your thing, then a trip to the Caol Ila Distillery is simply a must. Its Gaelic name translates as “sound of Islay” and you should pronounce it “cull-eela”.  This distillery is about a mile north from Port Askaig. Founded in 1846, the distillery has seen closure and re-opening due to major events such as the Second World War.

Today, the whisky distillery produces around 7 million litres of the spirit each year. Caol Ila distillery is also the market leader on Islay, producing well over double the volume of whisky as the other distilleries on the island. As Islay’s giant, a tour around the Caol Ila distillery is a must-visit attraction for any whisky enthusiast. 

Islay Whisky Breaks

Of course, visiting all these distilleries can be exhausting! But if you’re staying with us at Islay Cottages, you can relax after a hard day’s tasting and touring. So, book now and get planning your trip around the many whisky distilleries on Islay!