Land Rover traces its roots back to Islay in Scotland
Pronounced eye-lah, the island is the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides. Whisky aficionados know it all too well as the home of some of the finest, peatiest, smokiest malts around - labels like Laphroiag, Ardbeg, Bowmore, and Caol Ila. As this latest video attests, it's also the place where the Land Rover was invented.
Spencer Wilks, then managing director of Rover, had an estate on Islay, and brought a Rover 10 over from the mainland for use there. To deal with the Islay's famously boggy terrain, he had the suspension raised. And when his groundskeeper saw what his patron had done, he called it the Land Rover. Thus the name was born, and with it the idea to build the first vehicle to carry it.
The better part of seven decades later, Land Rover is based in England, but the Wilks family keeps its roots laid down on Islay. In fact Spencer's grandchildren started a new farm distillery there ten years ago called Kilchoman. It's the only distillery that carries out the entire production process on Islay, including growing the barley, malting it, distilling it, maturing the spirit, and bottling it, all on the island. Having had the privilege of tasting some of its early output, this writer can tell you it's showing great promise – and stands to become as much part of the lore of Islay as the off-roader created by the founders' progenitor.
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