Koster currents

Three days on Sydkoster, Sweden’s sunny western tip.

Kosters Trädgårder offered a special respite from urban life, punctuated by graceful lessons in permaculture.

We capped off the week performing in the serene Kosters Kyrka with Akademiska Kören, under the sunkissed hand of Håkan Sund. Till next time, Koster—

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Walk with giants

Wrapping our Islay tour with an Atlantic ferry to Northern Ireland, and a stroll on the basalt hexagons of the Giant’s Causeway.

We toasted our travels with a fitting final tasting at the quad-century Old Bushmills Distillery. Sláinte — we hope to be back someday!

Ireland - 20

Peat pilgrimage

distilleries_islay_updated_2011
Mortendreier, CC BY-SA 3.0

Woolly cows and clothiers aside, Islay lived up to its reputation for gloriously smoky whisky. Our team made it to four distilleries in as many days, though there was plenty more to see, smell, and sip.

We took the plunge at east-side Caol Ila, beneath the looming Paps of Jura. Given the bulk of their stock ships to Johnnie Walker, tasting their single malts was a rare treat; we treasured their balanced 2018 Distillery Exclusive.

West-side Kilchoman was a last-minute but highly touted addition to our itinerary, and we were lucky for the tip. Among the smallest and youngest Islay distilleries, their commitment to barley-to-bottle on-site production made for a powerfully immersive visit. We fell hard for their 9-Year Single Cask Release.

Bruichladdich, our neighbor in central Port Charlotte, offered tastes both of their Laddie and Octomore whisky lines, and of their popular Botanist gin. The facility was among the most handsome, from lacquered hoppers to awe-inspiring casks.

Sporting a 25-year royal warrant, south-side Laphroaig was predictably the peatiest we tasted, but also one of the most informative and entertaining tours — including a chance to touch the cold-smoking earth in action. Never wash this hand again…