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5 of the best Islay whiskies to enjoy on board

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Laphroaig 10 Year

Malachy Duffy introduces a few of his favourites from the Hebridean Isle...

The French word terroir refers to all the environmental factors that combine to make product, generally a wine, distinctive. When I first heard of it, it seemed to me that the concept could equally be applied to the liquid gold that is Scottish single malt whiskies, which rely on water from specific streams (known as “burns” in Scotland) and local peats, introduced to the kiln to impart smoky aromas and complex flavours.

The whiskies I found most appealing were made on the Hebridean Isle of Islay. Despite being only 25 miles north to south, Islay is home to eight of Scotland's best whisky distilleries, each of which makes a unique product. Here is a selective introduction to some of my favourites:

Laphroaig 10 Year

Many years ago, while on a cross-country ski trip in Maine, the weather turned particularly brutal with temperatures sinking to 20 below. Even sitting close by a blazing fire couldn’t exorcise the chill. My host offered me a tumbler filled with a golden liquid. “This should help,” he said. The first sip knocked me back with its peaty smoke and an iodine-like scent that reminded me of tidal pool seaweed. The second sip went down easier, and by the third, all thoughts of chill and the blowing snow outside had vanished.

£38.45, The Whisky Exchange

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