After we drank our way through Edinburgh and Signatory, it was time to head for the Promised Land, Islay. However, we had to drive through some other towns to reach the Cennagcraig Ferry. This oyster house in front of Loch Fyne, which goes by the same name is like the entrance to the Pearly Gates before going to the final destination. Get it, pearls/oysters harharhar!!! Enough corniness, look at the gilded beautiful oyster plates by the nameplate in the featured image.
What a peaceful place to drink a dram with some seafood out of the same water you are gazing at.
This place is famous for their oysters and smoked salmon. It is a highly sought-after brand in most luxury markets, and in fact, we saw these products at Globus in Geneva Switzerland on our France trip a month later.
This place has some other things besides seafood, like my favorite cheese of Scotland. Blue Murder. This was a kick-ass creamy blue cheese that reminded me of a Cambozola.
Barnhouse feel. Look at that oyster and salivate. Ice cold, fresh caught same morning and shucked.
With some Chablis, I am in heaven. Chablis is in my humble opinion is the best wine to best pair with oysters. Of course, some Champagne, Viognier, Muscadet, or Pinot Gris is nice, but for the sake of pairing, the roots of the Chablis grapes actually suck up particles of ground fossilized oyster shells from its terroir. All of Chablis’ Grand Cru vineyards and Premier Cru vineyards are planted on primarily Kimmeridgean soil which is composed of limestone, clay, and fossilized oyster shells.
What a view, the sun coming in and out of the clouds was like a light show.
What better view to eat this with?
Their scallops are nothing to scoff at either. Look at the pinks ones sizzling in their own juices with garlic butter!
Here is a sampler of their salmons. I wish I only got the lightly cured. The medium cured and smoked one was good, but a bit too oaky and fishy. The heavily smoked was just too dry, I, in general, do not like this variety of smoked salmon. But the lightly cured with whisky and salt was by far my favorite. Like eating salmon sushi sashimi with whisky dashi.
Almost as good as the Dunkeld variety in the previous post, but still DAMN good by any stretch of the imagination or comparison to other smoked salmon that is shipped out for export. They have thicker chunkier slices here, which is nice, but the Dunkeld cut was slightly thinner, which added an extra level of umami in the mouthfeel and melting feeling.
Here is a video of all their products.
On the road again. We passed through a lovely small town called Inveraray. I was in a weird limbo phase where I had been berated for spending too much money at Signatory by my wife, and she was already in anticipatory anxiety about the damage I was about to do at 7 out of the 8 Islay distilleries, so the proposition of buying any additional bottles in this town would have led my nuts being chopped off.
What a quaint little whisky shop, straight out of a Scottish countryside tourism magazine.
This German Shepherd was huge.
“May I pour you a dram sir?”
Wait a minute. I know you from somewhere….hmmm
“No, uh I think you must be mistaken..”
“I gotta go now… don’t tell my master or I will bite your balls off.”
There were a lot of collector’s items here. Very rare, from closed distilleries. Hard to find in the US, but easy to buy online for around $60, so not worth buying here and add to the list of 18 other bottles I am smuggling.
Is Jerry gonna buy it? Look at Mr. Scotch reading Jerry’s reaction, his poker face doesn’t realize that Jerry is a cheap bastard and he wants everything for FREEEE!!!!
These two bottles come from the flora and fauna series due to the wooded scenes painted on the bottles. Diageo basically bought a lot of these smaller bottlings and refurbished some of these bottlings where there was not enough demand on their own, so all the leftover casks were placed in this series, but just because they were left over due to low demand, this does not mean they were bad per se, just the victims of changes in popular taste in whisky throughout the years. Most bottles in this series are reasonably priced. Look at this German guy’s reaction to this. Priceless. Skip to minute 3:45. Or skip to nosing as it says on the video. I love that, ‘nosing’. I am going to use that from now on!
Blair Athol 12 year, but I believe this was the original bottling, not the later bottling, so may be more of a collector’s item. The way they pronounce it sounds like Blair Asshole. We obviously were not able to try this, but after reading reviews, the Blair Atholl 12 looks like something worth getting. It is sweet, molasses-flavored, cinnamon and clove which reminded me of a Christmas fruitcake. it is pretty dark for a 12-year-old. It sounds like it had a long finish and water really opened it and brought out the orange marmalade flavors. It sounded more like a mango chutney given all this talk of spiciness I hear on the reviews. The only other complaints are the “bitter edges”. I really liked this Whisky map below.
He has the whole collection of Macallan traveler’s series, reflecting the main mode of transportation in each respective era.
Hard to find, but not too out of reach, with a price of about $500 at auction for the whole series. Here is a primer on the different profiles.
Looks like our mode of transportation is a ferry. Be mindful to print your tickets out ahead of time and not to forget them at home. Also, try booking your ferry rides first before you book anything in Islay, as this will make or break your trip due to sudden times being sold out, as there are only a few ferries per day, and sometimes they can get canceled due to weather conditions. Here we are, always last minute chaos with Erika and I.
I was running because though I booked tickets online and we got there on time, I forgot to have the paper copy on hand, so I had to run to the office to print the tickets right before my cell phone died. What stress after having oysters and salmon. Killed my buzz. We barely made it, the last to board.
Here is the website you need to book your tickets on. You want to leave from Kennacraig to Islay. These are the two ports.
I passed out on the sofa inside, and it was blistering cold on the deck, but I had to come out as we neared the island of Islay. This is truly the island I imagine they laid King Arthur’s body for its final repose. It appeared magically out of the fog.
Catching the sunset as it comes out of the clouds.
The highly sought after Port Ellen, that I have heard so much about with its multi-thousand dollar bottles. I hear it is re-opening again and will no more be a closed distillery.
Almost at our dinner at the Islay Hotel.
The wind is brutal on this ship, you can only stay out here 5 minutes at a time or you can’t feel your face.
God bless Scotland, let’s go conquer Islay!