Islay is best known for its disproportionately high number of distilleries – eight, with more planned – and for a distinctively peaty style of single malt. Beyond the obvious lurks a surprising diversity of spirit, making the identity of Islay whisky a more elusive prospect than might first appear.
Single malts from Islay tend to be the most pungent and peaty of all Scotch whiskies. This is particularly true to the south of the isle, where peat smoke is rife, as is tar and salinity. Further north there is not quite the peaty intensity; instead there is often plenty of fruit and refinement. There is always a good degree of balance, wherever one is on the isle.