Bowmore Round Church
Bowmore round church is built in 1767. Folklore says that the round shape is made so there are no corners for the Devil to hide in. The Round Church was built for Daniel Campbell to serve the population of the Parish of Kilarrow. In 1830 a gallery was added to increase the capacity to 500. The church is open to visitors all year.
The museum of Islay life, Port Charlotte
The Museum of Islay Life occupies a former church in the village of Port Charlotte. It is open every day from April to the end of October. A small entrance charge is made, with concessions for pensioners, students and families.
Southern Islay Distilleries
The southern distilleries - Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin, also referred to as the Kildalton Distilleries, and Port Ellen (the latter was closed in 1983) - are the most powerful, producing medium-bodied whiskies, saturated with peat-smoke, brine and iodine. Not only do these distilleries use heavily peated malt (54 ppm at Ardbeg, 40 ppm at Laphroaig), they use the island's peaty water for every stage of production - until they were closed in the early 1980s, Ardbeg had its own floor maltings and used to steep the barley in the same water.
Northern Islay Distilleries
The northern Islay distilleries - Bruichladdich (the 'ch' is silent) and Bunnahabhain ('Boona-hah-ven') are, by contrast, much milder. These draw their water direct from the spring, before it has had contact with peat, and use lightly or un-peated barley. The resulting whiskies are lighter flavoured, mossy (rather than peaty), with some seaweed, some nuts, but still the dry finish.
Bowmore Distillery, in the middle of the island on the shore of Loch Indaal, stands between the two extremes - peaty but not medicinal, with some toffee, some floral scents, and traces of linseed oil. Caol Ila ('Cal-eela'), although close to Bunnahabhain, produces a delicate, greenish malt, with some peat/iodine/salt balanced by floral notes and a peppery finish.
The Beaches on Islay
Islay has over 130 miles of coastline and many beaches to discover, both on the Atlantic west coast and on other more sheltered parts of islay's coastline. And the great thing about the beaches on Islay is that you are likely to be the only visitors apart from the always present wildlife.
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