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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Islay

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We visited Ardbeg first, and got an incredibly in-depth tour from distillery manager Mickey Heads. Our first impression was how shockingly small the operation is, at least in comparison to their marketing budget. Ardbeg only operates a single pair of stills. To put that in perspective Glenlivet has 28 pairs.

 

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Campbeltown

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After a long drive across the lowlands and down the Campbeltown peninsula we arrived in the town of Campbeltown. Once the mecca of Scotch whisky with over 35 distilleries in the town, the number has dwindled down to just 3. Two of them are owned by the Wright family, Springbank and Glengyle. Founded in 1828, the Springbank distillery is a special place for Scotch lovers.
 

Campbeltown Scotland Binny's

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Speyside and The Highlands

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Family owned since 1895, G&M is one of Scotland’s oldest independent bottlers. They’re also a wine, spirits and beer wholesaler. Their operation is very large, spanning several acres. We got a chance to see one of their warehouses and it was a sight to behold. They use a tall, racked warehouse as opposed to the short, dank dunnage warehouses. There are some real gems in their warehouses and they have some of the oldest casks in the business. In fact, they’ve bottled the oldest single malt ever bottled, a 70-year-old Mortlach. We had the privilege of tasting two different Macallan casks from 1940 while we were there. They were both surprisingly vibrant and fresh when we expected woody and tired. We’ve got plenty of G&M cask samples we’re tasting through and considering and will update our picks in an upcoming post.
 

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Islay

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The Whiskey Hotline is currently on sabbatical on Islay, but the line between work and play is always blurred. We visited a few of our favorite distilleries in between eating haggis burgers, haggis pizza, haggis nachos and black pudding and managed to get an advance tasting on some upcoming releases you’ll want to keep an eye out for. These are all currently on the water and we expect to have them within a month or so. We’ll be sure to let you know here as soon as they arrive.
 

Islay Whiskey Hotline

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