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Islay whisky is Scotch whisky made on Islay (pron.: // EYE-lə) or Ìle in Gaelic, the southernmost of the Inner Hebridean Islands located off the west coast of Scotland. There are eight active distilleries on the island, as of early 2008, with a ninth being readied for production. Islay is a centre of "whisky tourism", and hosts a "Festival of Malt and Music" known as Fèis Ìle each year at the end of May, with events and tastings celebrating the cultural heritage of the island.
Styles of whisky 
The whiskies of the distilleries along the southeastern coast of the island, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg, have a smoky character derived from peat, considered a central characteristic of the Islay malts, and ascribed both to the water from which the whisky is made and to the peating levels of the barley. Many describe this as a “medicinal” flavour. They also possess notes of iodine, seaweed and salt. Caol Ila, on the northern side of the island, across from Jura, also produces a strongly peated whisky.
The other distilleries on the island make whisky in a variety of styles. Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich make much lighter whiskies which are generally lightly peated, though Bruichladdich also produces several heavily peated products. Bowmore produces a whisky which is well balanced, using a medium-strong peating level (25ppm) but also using sherry-cask maturation. The newest distillery, Kilchoman, started production in late 2005. In location it is unlike the other seven distilleries, which are all by the sea.
Active distilleries 
|Ardbeg||// ard-BEG||small headland||1815–1981, 1990–1996, 1997–||5 km east of Port Ellen||owned by Glenmorangie, some blended as Wardhead|
|Bowmore||// boh-MOR||great sea reef or sea rock||1779–||in Bowmore, the island's capital||owned by Suntory, sells 7-year-old malt as McClelland’s|
|Bruichladdich||// bruuk-LA-dee||bank on the shore||1881–1995,‡ 2001–||on western Loch Indaal, across from Bowmore||reopened as an independent distillery; Purchased in 2012 by Remy Cointreau|
|Bunnahabhain||// BOO-nə-HA-vən||mouth of the river||1880/1883–||4 km north of Port Askaig||owned by Burn Stewart, a notable part of the Black Bottle blend|
|Caol Ila||// kul-EE-lə||The Sound of Islay (between Islay & Jura)||1846–1972,‡ 1974–||1 km north of Port Askaig||owned by Diageo|
|Kilchoman||// keel-CHOH-mən||St. Comman's church||2005–||on the Atlantic coast||first all new distillery since 1881|
|Lagavulin||// LAH-kə-VOO-lin||the hollow where the mill is||1742/1816–||4 km east of Port Ellen||owned by Diageo|
|Laphroaig||// la-FROYG||beautiful hollow by the broad bay||1815–||2 km east of Port Ellen||owned by Beam Inc.|
|Port Charlotte||—||named after Frederick Campbell's wife||1829–1929, 2011–||in Port Charlotte, 3 km south of Bruichladdich||owned by Bruichladdich,
Although Bruichladdich is currently bottling a peated scotch whisky under this name, the new Port Charlotte distillery is not yet built.
|‡ Except during the Great Depression (~1930–1937) and World War II (~1940–1945)|
Closed distilleries 
Islay has also been the home of a number of distilleries which are now closed, the most famous being Port Ellen, which operated from 1825 to 1983. There is still a maltings at Port Ellen, which supplies many of the Islay distilleries with malted barley to their individual specifications. In March 2007 Bruichladdich Distillery announced the reopening of the distillery at Port Charlotte (Port Sgioba in Gaelic), which was closed in 1929, and was also known as the Lochindaal Distillery.
- Achenvoir (pre-1816–1818+), in Argyll
- Ardenistle (1837–1849) / Kildalton (1849–1852) / Islay (1852–1852), subsumed by Laphroaig 1853
- Ardmore (1817–1835), taken over by Lagavulin 1837
- Daill (1814–1830), ruins on road between Port Askaig & Bridgend
- Freeport (1847–1847), location unknown
- Hazelburn (1825–?), uncertain relation to the Hazelburn distillery of Campbeltown
- Kildalton (1817–1837), merged with Lagavulin
- Killarow (c.1760–1818) / Bridgend (1818–1822), ruins in village
- Lochindaal/Port Charlotte/Rhinns (1829–1929), near BruichLaddich
- Lossit (1821) / Ballygrant (1826–1860), ruins south of the village A846
- Malt Mill (1908–1962), part of Lagavulin
- Mulendry (1826–1831), location unknown
- Newton (1818–1825), ruins immediately south of A846 between Port Askaig & Bridgend
- Octomore (1816–1852), ruins near Port Charlotte
- Port Ellen (1825–1929, 1967–1983), large port village of Islay, converted to a malting
- Scarabus (1817–1818), no evidence of production
- Tallant (1821–1852), Tallant farm south of Bowmore
- Torrylin (?–?), may have been on the Isle of Arran
- Jackson, Michael, Michael Jackson's Complete Guide To Single Malt Scotch, (Running Press Book Publishers, 2004), 48.
- "Remy Cointreau to buy Scotland's Bruichladdich". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Islay Whisky Society
- Scotland National Tourist Board
- Argyll Tourist Board
- Google Earth placemark with Islay distilleries
- Dr. Whisky on Islay Whiskies
- The Islay Whisky Chapter Austria
- Islay's Lost Whisky Distilleries
- Islay Whiskies