Ardbeg is releasing 40 YR old Malt Whisky

This week 269 bottles of 40 YR old Ardbeg 1965-Vintage malt will go up for sale. The price of each of those bottles is £2,000. Each bottle is made of hand-blown glass and includes a numbered wax seal to prove its authenticity. 100 of these bottles will be sold to Harrods in London. A real collectors item according to Harrods but way out of my league. Campbell Evans, of the Scottish Whisky Association, added: "The person buying this can expect a smoky whisky with an aroma of the sea." Interesting fact is that earlier 40 YR and older bottlings were sold for almost £4,000. If you think this is expensive what about this: A Macallan Fine and Rare Collection, 1926 60 YR old for the price of $38,000 but it is sold out. There is however a hotel in the US where you can still by a single dram for $ 3,300. If you are still in the market for an expensive dram try this one: The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection, 1939, 40 YR old for as little as $10,125 :-)

Finlaggan - Home of the Lords of the Isles

Finlaggan was the home of the MacDonald chiefs for almost four hundred years, from the 12th to the 16th century. From Finlaggan, the Lord of the Isles ruled the Western part of Scotland from Kintyre to Lewis. They gained control from their Norse overlords, adopted their maritime skills and improved on them. And from Finlaggan they met the kings from Scotland, England and France on equal terms.

The earliest mention in written history of Finlaggan dates back as far as the 14th century, concerning reroofing of the chapel on Eilean Mor. The first descriptive account of the Lordship was written by Dean Munro about 1550. Some relics of Finlaggan's occupation remain. A few carved graveslabs help to substantiate the traditional opinion that the wives and children of the Lords were buried on Eilean Mor, while the Lords themselves were interred in Iona.

One of the better preserved stones, the warrior effigy, probably dates from a period later than the occupation by the Lords of the Isles. It is thought to be a 16th century stone. The inscription on it could still be read clearly last century, but this is no longer possible. All the stones have suffered from being badly positioned and exposed to the elements, and the Finlaggan Trust has plans to have them placed under a shelter on Eilean Mor.

From archeological and historical evidence it is clear that the islands in Loch Finlaggan have been used by man for a very long time. Eilean na Comhairle (the council island) and another small island, Eilean Mhuireill, are crannogs (man made islets) dating from prehistoric times. Eilean na Comhairle, whick is linked to Eilean Mor by s stone causeway, was where the Lords of the Isles held meetings of the Council of the Isles. Recent excavations have shown that a stronghold had been built on it in the Iron Age.

Finlaggan has a visitor centre which is opened on certain days from spring to autumn. Finlaggan is located outside Ballygrant on the road to Port Askaig. More info can be found on the Finlaggan Trust Website. More info on Islay's History and Timeline can be found here

The Columba Centre Islay

The Columba Centre on Islay, Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle in Gaelic, is located just outside Bowmore on the road to Bridgend. The Columba Centre used to be an old fever hospital and the centre as it is today was opened in August 2002. The old fever hospital was renovated and the centre now offers teaching rooms, a library, childcare facilities, meeting rooms, broadcasting facilities, computer room and exhibition space. The Columba Centre's primary function is to maintain, and where possible promote, the Gaelic culture and language. No wonder because Islay was once the very centre of the Gaelic political world and the Gaelic language has been spoken on Islay for almost 1500 years. Irish immigrants brought the language to Islay and even today almost 35% of the Ileach speak Gaelic. The Centre also offers Gaelic courses at all levels and Gaelic medium and higher education in partnership with the Gaelic College Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye.

The website from The Columba Centre can be found here

Islay's Claggain Bay - A sheltered little Paradise

Claggain Bay on Islay is not a place where lots of tourists go to. The most tourists come as far as Ardbeg Distillery and some of them continue to visit Kildalton Cross and Chapel and only a few keep driving on towards Ardtalla Farm. And to be honest, the road isnt built for a lot of tourists but this part of Islay is particularly beautiful and quiet. Deer are spotted easily when you drive from Kildalton to Ardtalla, and Ardtalla itself offers a wonderful walk along Rubha Liath towards Proaig offering wonderful views over the Sound of Islay towards Kintyre and Jura.

On our first trip during our honeymoon I made this picture from Claggain Bay and when I showed it to collegues at work they couldn't imagine it was in Scotland. It is the picture I have added here and indeed it looks tropical. The weather was amazing, blue skies and a good 22 celsius made it perfect. The beach at Claggain Bay is wonderful, this must be the place where they invented the word tranquility. The sand on the beach is white and on the higher part covered with the most beautiful pebbles. They say that when you take a pebble with you, you will come back to Islay. So we did and up till now it worked for us.