In September, we proposed a question; is Islay just a badge or is it a provenance? Our views were outlined in a previous article.
Never too shy for a bit of healthy debate, the whisky community’s response was overwhelming. Across social media, there were motions of agreement, that ‘Islay’ should mean more than just being distilled on the island.
R.e. aging, I’m not sure the island would cope well with the production volumes of [some of the other Islay distilleries]. But at the very least an Islay whisky should be a brainchild of Islay. Filling a tank with spirit and shipping it off does not make an Islay whisky.
It should BE of Islay, contain Islay and work for Islay. That’s a no-brainer, right?
Being of and for a place with a product is essential I believe, Islay is iconic in the whisky world and malts from the island should be clearly identified and celebrated as such. I would feel the same for any region and especially if we had one on Cowal.
Parma Ham; Melton Mowbray Pork Pie; Champagne; Parmesan; Balsamic Vinegar of Modena… Islay Single Malt – to me it’s about guaranteeing and protecting the provenance and terroir… not just a label. Love what you are doing with The Laddie… keep it going.
After all what goes in the bottle is not just a liquid for consumption, it is a legacy:it is about the people from one generation from the next who pour their love and talent into every part of the process which makes every bottle that leaves Islay the very best representation of the people of Islay.
Others flew the flag for honesty and transparency over all else:
I think being honest is what it is about. It is fine for me if the whisky is matured somewhere else, although I would prefer Islay maturation, but the whisky loving world wants to know how it is done and not be fooled! I think being honest pays off!”
We want more transparency in Scotch whisky and Bruichladdich are fighting for it!
Have two Islay labels distilled and distilled, aged and bottled. Islay & Islay alpha to omega.
Some were indifferent, owing to the fact that whisky is after all a drink, and that so long as it tasted good, what difference did it make where casks were matured or where the whisky was bottled?
It’s all about the final product, as long as it’s got some elements of Islay, and it tastes fantastic!
I don’t really care where the barrels lay. But it should be spirit only – without added artificial colour.
Others pointed out, quite rightly, that if every distiller on Islay were to mature here, our beautiful island home would be littered with warehouses, scarring the landscape. We countered that some see it as a sign of industry and warehouses can be carefully landscaped (with time). We, however, are in full agreement that should every inch of our island be dominated by whisky production, it would be in sad state of affairs.
A hard question. Basically, it would be more honest that it should be aged on Islay as well. However with the output of the other distilleries, I guess more of your beautiful nature would have to be destroyed for warehouses if they want to be called Islay single malt. Space is limited, it could lead to more traffic to move casks and some streets are already in a bad condition. This would be the cons which from my view is more important.
Nevertheless, our island is dominated by a whisky culture. Many on the island rely on whisky tourism for an income, whether that’s through providing hospitality or direct employment by distilleries (around a tenth of the population are employed directly). No doubt, visitors attracted to the island will buy from local businesses here but does that make us little more than a tourist town?