When the name Islay is mentioned, whisky is the first thing that comes to mind, and rightfully so, as it is home to nine (and counting) Scotch whisky distilleries.

This rich distilling history provided the inspiration for The Islay Rum Company’s groundbreaking decision to establish the island’s first-ever rum distillery.

In 2020, using local builders, the company embarked on a project to convert the near derelict Hastie’s Lemonade Factory in Port Ellen into a modern distillery boasting a stunning copper pot and twin retort still, enabling them to replicate the production of traditional Caribbean rum but with a distinctive Scottish twist.

None of this would be possible without their talented Distiller, Ben Inglis, who grew up near Bruichladdich Distillery.

‘Distilling always fascinated me and when I came of age, I realised rum, not whisky, was my passion and immersed myself in the study of the distillation process,’ he said.

‘Helping to establish the first rum distillery on the island I call home is now a reality, and after three years of hard work, our team is producing exceptional rum – it really is a dream come true.’

These award-winning rums include Islay Rum Geal, a pure white rum with a Scottish twist, and Islay Rum Peat Spiced, which has a distinct smoky taste reflecting its Islay roots.

The distillery is not officially open to the public, however, visitors will always get a friendly and hospitable Islay welcome, just see the reviews.

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