Islay Whisky

Update on the IWS Distillery Tours & Tastings Programme for 2001 

The Whisky School - 3 days of Fun, Excitment & Education

The Islay Whisky Society's Gifts and Whisky Recommendations

The Islay Whisky Society is looking forward to a series of Islay-based tours and tutored tastings during 2001. These tours were started in May 2000 and offer our tour participants a number of benefits.
Help & Advice on travel arrangements to and from the island - including liaising with ferries, accommodation on mainland if required etc.
Small Groups of members are escorted to distilleries and peat cutting - our members come from all corners of the world to make the pilgrimage to Islay
Experienced Experts (ex Islay distillery managers) lead evening tastings and share their experience of distilling and creating Islay whiskies
Exclusive, comfortable and relaxed accommodation at Octovulin - a house refurbished for the private use of the owners of The Islay Estate Company (Lord Margadale who owns half the island - the family visit the island during August & September). Octovulin is centrally located for access to all distilleries
Private trout fishing on Loch Skerrols (which is overlooked by Octovulin)
Unless you drink Islay whiskies at younger than 6 years, or older than 39 years (Vintage 1961), then they would have been created during the era when our experts managed some of Islay's most famous distilleries.

John McDougall - Previously distillery manager of Laphroaig, Springbank, Balvenie, and Tormore Distilleries.

Grant Carmichael - Retired distillery manager Caol Ila and overall Islay Manager (Caol Ila, Lagavulin, Port Ellen Distilleries and Port Ellen Maltings) from 1978 till 1995


Grant Carmichael

1960 - 1962 : Trainee Manager gaining experience at : Glenkinchie, Linlithgow, Aberfeldy, North Port Brechin, Oban and Rosebank Distilleries.
1962 - 1963 : Assistant Manager at Caol Ila
1963 - 1968 : Manager at Caol Ila
1968 - 1978 : Manager at Burghead Maltings - Doubled the capacity making this the largest maltings in Scotland
1978 - 1983 : General Manager of United Distillers three Islay Distilleries of Caol Ila, Lagavulin & Port Ellen and the new maltings at Port Ellen (built in 1974 at the same time as the Caol Ila distillery was rebuilt and enlarged). With Port Ellen manager Angus MacTaggart oversaw the closing of Port Ellen distillery in 1983. Sent whisky to United Distillers maturation facilities based at the closed Campbeltown distilleries of Hazelburn, Lochruin, Lochhead, Lochend, Millknowe and Dalintober.
1983 - 1995 : Senior Manager at United Distillers two Islay Distilleries. Saw Lagavulin changed from a 12 to a 16 Year Old as part of then new 'Classic Malts' which Grant helped launch in Germany & Greece. This period saw the widespread popularity of single malts become established in many countries.

John McDougall

1963 - 1965 :  Trainee Manager, gaining experience at  : Aultmore, Knockdhu, Balmenach, Imperial, Banff and Teaninich Distilleries.
1965 - 1968  : Assistant Manager at Dailuaine Distillery
1968 - 1970 : Manager at Balvenie Distillery
1970 - 1974 : Manager at Laphroaig Distillery - the capacity of the distillery was increased at this time with the introduction of a larger still by owners Long John International
1974 - 1977 : Manager at Tormore Distillery
1977 - 1981 : Long John International Glasgow operations - Quality Assurance Manager and (in 1979) General Manager of Malt Distilleries (Laphroaig, Tormore, Ben Nevis, Glenugie & Kinclaith).
1981 - 1985 : Long John International Glasgow operations - General Manager for warehousing, blending, bottling, and distribution of Long John, Black Bottle, Laphroaig & Tormore.
1986 - 1996 : Manager at Springbank Distillery. During this time Gordon Wright, whose family control Springbank, joined to later become Sales Director. Gordon left to set up Murray McDavid and has recently led the take-over of the Bruichladdich Distillery.


Ardbeg | Bowmore | Caol Ila | Bruichladdich
Bunnahabhain | Lagavulin | Laphroaig | Port Ellen

Find out about our special tours on Islay

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