A nice article in The Independent travel section this weekend about the Hebredean island of Islay, you know, where they make Laphroiag! And other good stuff, too, but the Laphroaig distillery makes the appearance as the quintessential Islay malt house. Floor malting! Stacks of peat!
Really, there is one quibble we here at Whiskey Break might have with the article, at least its title, anyway. "Simple" pleasures? Maybe the rest of the island, but, nay, there is nothing "simple" about Laphroaig!
The Scottish isle of simple pleasures
An afternoon sparking with salty sunlight and in Port Ellen, a trim, white Hebrid-ean village hugging a sandy bay, a Jack Russell is barking excitedly at something – or someone – beneath the shifting waters of the harbour. I follow the terrier's gaze and there, just below the surface, is a set of eyes, saucer-like and dark, peering straight at me.
To see a seal on Islay, one of the jigsaw-piece isles cast off from the raggedy coastline of western Scotland, is not unusual. In fact, at Loch an t-Sailein (Seal Bay) you are almost guaranteed to find grey seals doing their onshore stretches. But to be close enough to shake a flipper is a fresh experience. And I don't need to be Doctor Dolittle to see what it wants. "If only I had a fish," I remark to a local on the quayside. (On Islay, the habit of talking to strangers is soon acquired.)