More whisky

With rain forecasted and a full day to hang out on the small island of Islay, we had little choice but to drink whisky.

The pagoda at the top of the Bowmore distillery helps direct the peat smoke through the drying barley to infuse the peat and smoke flavor.
The pagoda at the top of the Bowmore distillery helps direct the peat smoke through the drying barley to infuse the peat and smoke flavor.

The tours we took at Lagavulin and Laphroaig yesterday were fun and informative. We learned a ton about the distilling process and got to taste from a bunch of their bottles. With two down and six others on the island to try, our stretch goal was visit two, but we only made it to one: Bowmore.

We had to go to the town of Bowmore anyway because it is home to the only ATM that accepts foreign debit cards. In the town of Bowmore is, you guessed it, the Bowmore distillery. It’s the second oldest distillery in Scotland, opening for legal trade around the time America was declaring independence.

Like Lagavulin and Laphroaig, Bowmore prides itself on its distinctly peaty and smoky whiskies. Bowmore however infuses less peat smoke in its whiskies. If Laphroaig punches you in the face with peaty smoke flavor, Bowmore is more of a gentle slap.

The tour at Bowmore was a nice compliment to the Laphroaig tour. Both have very similar processes, but Laphroaig was in full swing while Bowmore was getting ready to stop production for the season. We also heard this gem of a weather joke from the tour guide, while looking out over the Atlantic:

“If you can see Ireland, it’s going to rain. If you can’t see Ireland, it’s already raining.”

This joke works because it’s true. We’ve had a week straight where each day it rains a little. The forecast shows more wet stuff going forward. Carrie and I have been contemplating whether to abandon Scotland for a drier country. Right now Morocco sounds nice.

When we got back to our campsite that evening, the wind shifted so it was blowing from the west. We had our tent set up for a southerly gust. I ignored the issue because I was tired and hungry.

That night the wind picked up. I was awoken around 4am because something was nudging me. The wind was pushing the broad, unsupported side of the tent fly so far in it was pressing against me. Without extra guy out points on the fly, there wasn’t much I could do except adjust the angle of the tent, which was far too much work at 4am. Instead I tried to sleep. That didn’t go so well. Lesson learned. Always make sure your tent is aligned so it’s strongest side faces the wind.

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