A set of nine 50p stamps in miniature sheet format depicting Islay’s distilleries: Ardbeg, Ardnahoe, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig.
U/M / Unmounted Mint / MNH / Mint Never Hinged.
Islay is an island (population 3,228) in the Inner Hebrides, approximately 20 miles from the coast of mainland Scotland. It is also 25 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland. Islay is famous for its whisky as well as for being home to many bird species, including wintering geese. Until 1493, Islay was part of the Lordship of the Isles, whose capital was based at Finlaggan Castle.
In November 2017, the island’s first local stamps were issued to commemorate 250 years since the building of the Round Church in the village of Bowmore, and were issued partly to raise money for the Church of Scotland. Four further issues appeared during 2018, and several new sets were produced each year until the final issue in 2021.
The stamps are Cinderellas with no postal function, but are labels designed to accompany standard Royal Mail postage stamps on mail for the UK mainland. Used examples can be found on cover bearing a dated “Bowmore – Bogh Mor” postmark.
Though the stamps are essentially fantasy issues, there is a strong local angle in that they are designed and produced by a former island resident, all relate to aspects of island life, and feature original photographs or artwork.