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Islay whisky

Islay whisky is Scotch whisky made on Islay, the southernmost of the Inner Hebridean Islands.

Islay whiskies can be further divided according to whether they come from the southern part of the island or the northern part. The distilleries on the south of the island, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg, have the strongly peaty character which is thought of as being so characteristic of the Islay malts. They also possess notes of iodine, seaweed and salt.

The distilleries on the north of the island tend to make whisky lighter in character, closer to a typical Highland whisky. They are Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich and Caol Ila. Bowmore, usually classed among the north Islay whiskies, is more centrally located and has a flavour correspondingly intermediate between the two groups.

There are plans for an eighth distillery to be opened on the island in 2003, Kilchoman. The island has also been the home to a number of distilleries which are now closed, the most famous being Port Ellen which operated from the 1820s to 1983.