Scotch Island

A tour of Islay offers dramatic scenery and some of Scotland's best whisky

YEARS AGO, I lost my heart to a single-malt whisky from Islay. That Laphroaig 10-year-old was a potent dram that smelled like a smokehouse and slid down with elegant fire, and it's from one of the seven whisky distilleries that dot this small and remote western Scottish island.

True Scotch drinkers tend to relish Islay's often difficult flavors: seaweed, salt water, cigar smoke and that lovely aroma that comes from toasting the soon-to-be-fermented barley over a peat fire. In high season--spring and summer, when the weather is more agreeable--whisky pilgrims can be found hopping from one distillery to another, tasting and...

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