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A taste of a nip around Islay

Press Release   •   Apr 26, 2018 09:08 BST

Ardbeg distillery, Islay

One of the rarest blended malts in the world, created by the world’s first circumnavigational swim of the 100-mile coastline of Islay, has been released, and VisitScotland believe this will encourage visitors to make their own adventures to the island.

Explorer’s Cask, made up of whisky from all eight of Islay’s operational distilleries, has officially been launched. The whisky was made after three adventurers swam around the Isle, stopping at distilleries along the way to create a unique cask.

Supported by VisitScotland, Explorers Club members Chad Anderson and Justin Fornal, along with fellow swimmer Johnnie Mundell, completed the expedition in July 2017 in just eight days. With a quarter cask in tow, they started at Ardbeg Distillery and made their way clockwise around the Queen of the Hebrides, taking in seven more distilleries, before returning to Ardbeg to celebrate their historic achievement.

A film crew followed the explorers and a documentary will be released later this year. The national tourism organisation hope the film and the unique blended malt will showcase the Isle of Islay’s remarkable whisky offering, wildlife and dramatic coastal seascapes to visitors across the world.

Home to eight working distilleries, Islay is best known for its peaty, smoky whiskies, which many consider to be the best in the world. The island is perfectly placed for whisky production, with its pure water source, sea spray and fertile lands for growing barley. The distilleries welcome visitors to watch the production process and, even better, sample their delights.

The expedition was inspired by Alfred Barnard, who walked round the island by foot in the 1880s while writing his canon, The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom.

Marrying for nine months, the whisky is now on pre-sale with 145 bottles available to those who enjoy the taste of adventure. All money raised from the sale of the Whisky will go to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities with visitors from all over the world coming to the country to experience an authentic Scottish dram. A culinary icon, it remains as important as ever to the tourism industry with one in five visitors making a trip to a whisky distillery during their stay and even more visiting a bar, pub or restaurant to sample the renowned national drink.

David Adams McGilp, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “With its beautiful landscapes, world class seafood and incredible whisky offering, Islay is a fantastic place with something for everyone.

“We were delighted to help these daring explorers and I hope their adventure, along with this this rare, blended malt, will inspire visitors from across the world to enjoy the wonders of Islay for themselves.”

Chad Anderson, Explorers Club member, said: “This expedition was an epic journey from start to finish. Facing the blistering cold of the North Atlantic for eight straight days was one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced but an amazing adventure, which has produced a unique whisky that will raise money for a great cause.

“I’d always been a fan of Islay’s smoky single malts and, as a whisky lover, an island with eight distilleries was a must-visit destination. However on arrival I was blown away by the scenic landscapes, the wide variety of wildlife and the warmth of the people. This is a very special place and I’d strongly recommend a visit to anyone.”er, said: 

For more information about the Isle of Islay go to

For more information about, or to purchase, the Explorer’s Cask, go to

To view a highlights video of the expedition go to


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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
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