There are currently 8 distilleries on Islay with a couple more being built now. For a relatively small island, this is quite a concentration. So why is Islay so popular with distillers? Well, historically, Islay has great barley and fantastic water – but the peat on Islay is also renowned for its very high quality. Specifically – Islay peat is completely free from rotting wood which tends to change the flavour of the peat when burnt. Due to the islands exposure to the Atlantic storms – lots of salt spray blows over and settles on the peat bogs which adds even more character to the peat.
Port Askaig sits apart form most Islay whiskies in that it is independently bottled (by Elixir Distillers) – and is not an actual distillery. The source(s) of the Port Askaig range are kept secret but it is widely believed that most of the Port Askaig whiskies come from Lagavulin, Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain.