Port Ellen Maltings, Kilchoman – and a side trip to Bruichladdich

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It’s a slow start to the day given the amount of refreshment that was sampled yesterday evening.

We’re booked on a tour of the Port Ellen Maltings at 10am so it’s a 30 minute journey from our accommodation to Port Ellen.   We’re shown round by the Operations Manager and it’s upstairs and downstairs round the small but highly productive maltings operation.

We even had a go of stocking the peat fires.   Here Smudge demonstrates how to do it.

A very interesting tour and nice to see how something that is the foundation for the great Islay whiskies is actually produced in the quantities that is required by the selective distilleries.

On the way to Kilchoman we have a detour back into Bruichladdich to discuss the options of having a private cask.    Mary at Bruichladdich is very helpful and we try the El Classico which is very palatable.    I don’t know if it’s a shortage of staff at the shop or it’s to save money but here you get the chance to fill your own bottle and package it up.    So myself, Al and Wolfie all have a bash.

We then took a trip into see Ugly Betty, an original style still.     Here we have Ugly Betty joined with the not so ugly Al.

Then it’s off to the main event of the day – Kilchoman which is a small farm distillery on the West side of the island.

Their festival bottling is as always; well received and they started queueing long before it was on sale this morning (Price of £75).    A great visitor centre and shop with lots of different things on offer.  They also did some great cakes and tea.

During the afternoon there was an auction to raise funds for the Islay Pipe band;  a bottle of 30 year old Port Ellen.   Bidding was slow but it finally reached a figure they were happy for it to go for.   £700 for the pipe band funds, bought by the distillery owner himself.     Only afterwards did Smudge tell me I could have put a bid on and there I was being a good boy keeping my hands in my pocket.

We headed back to our accommodation and there’s a tall ship in the bay near Port Charlotte and it’s not the same one (Thalassa) from the other day, so we go down for a look.

It’s back to the accommodation and we’re having a Chinese takeaway from the Chinese in Bowmore.    An easy night all round although I think there may be some dancing later.


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