While the Isle of Islay has solidified its place among whisky royalty for its heavily-peated, bold and characterful drams, it is not the only Scottish island that produces whisky. There are nearly 800 islands in Scotland, including the Hebrides - off the West Coast of the Mainland - and the ‘Northern Isles’, Orkney and Shetland: several of the larger islands boast successful (licensed) distilleries, and there are more opening all the time (and no doubt a few illicit stills in well-hidden places). Skye, Mull, Jura, and Orkney are the ‘classic’ whisky-producing islands, while there are newer distilleries, either planned or already in operation, on Arran, Lewis (Abhainn Dearg) and Shetland.
Some of the island whiskies approach Islay in style, peating their malt and maturing in coastal warehouses to soak up the salty sea air; others eschew the peat to concentrate on a well-balanced, fruity or malty style, but the salinity of the ocean is a common unifying factor. While some consider the islands to be a sub-category of the Highland region, we have grouped them separately in recognition of their unique heritage.