Our new 10-night cruise to the Southern Hebrides will take in the whisky isles of Islay and Jura as they celebrate 200 years of malt whisky production. The best way to experience these unique distilleries is from the sea, reflecting the maritime flavour of the whiskies themselves. We are offering two departures for 2016 on May 21st and August 27th 2016 on board our new luxury vessel, The Glen Etive. The May date of the new cruise “Islay and the Southern Hebrides” is timed for the Islay Festival of Music and Malt, Fèis Ìle, from 20 – 28th May 2016
The cruise has a strong focus on whisky and local gourmet food produce, but the cruise will also suit non whisky lovers. The outstanding scenery, ancient history and rare wildlife will ensure a complete appreciation of these islands. Historically, the Southern Hebrides was of great significance as “Argyll’s Sea Kingdom” from the 10th century. The vessel will literally cruise in the wake of the Lords of the Isles, including to Corryvreckan, Europe’s largest whirlpool, and the name of one of Ardbeg’s most famous whiskies. See the full 10-day itinerary here
The cruise can take in some of the most famous of the 9 distilleries on the isles of Islay and Jura where the world’s most legendary and smokiest malts are created. From the sheltered anchorage of Craighouse, guests can go ashore for a tour of the Isle of Jura distillery. Back on board, guests will dine on hand-dived, local scallops which are a great pairing with Jura’s flagship whisky, Origin.
From the anchorage at Port Ellen on Islay, guests can experience a “celebration of smoke” at Laphroaig and Ardbeg Distilleries. Laphroaig is one of the few distilleries to still do their own maltings. Ardbeg is Islay’s ultimate Single Malt, winning Whisky of the Year three years in a row. Their whiskies have been described as ‘perfection on a palate’.
The cruise continues around the Islay coastline to Loch Indaal and a tasting at Islay’s oldest distillery, Bowmore. This distillery is extremely special not only because of the smooth, balanced single malt it produces but it also has the oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland and is the only one below sea level. Nearby Bruichladdich is home to the Octomore range, the world’s smokiest whisky.
There are many options for visits to non-whisky attractions, such as a walk to Kildalton Cross, a visit to the Islay Woollen Mill or to visit Finlaggan, the ancient home of the Lord of the Isles. Guests will also have the option of a one-way walk along the shores of Loch Indaal between the Bowmore and Bruichladdich Distilleries, to be picked up by tender en route.
Apart from Jura and Islay, the cruise calls in at the Isles of Colonsay, Gigha and the Garvellachs as well as exploring some of the magnificent sea lochs on the Argyll mainland.