It should be pretty clear that I’ve been a whisky fan for many-a-year but I have never made it to the Islay Festival, known as Feis Ile, so having visited for my birthday in 2014 it made a lot of sense to go all out and spend almost the whole week at Feis Ile 2015.
Literally months in the planning, from discovering there was no available accommodation for around half a decade to looking out for all the festival bottlings as their details were drip fed out to the whisky writers who were on the edge of their seats to see what wares we would be striving to buy in celebration of this week, there was a lot of excitement.
Having negotiated with my wife that I would go for ‘half the week’, which essentially meant six days rather brilliantly due to scheduling, I got in touch with The Whisky Lounge who were accepting bookings onto their Tall Ship that is to be sailing around the island during the week and sorted myself a cabin.
Aside from that I have done relatively little…
Well, apart from setting up around eight tastings to take place during the first three full days I’m there and hoping that I will be able to obtain all the festival bottlings I am so desperate to buy.
As I write this on my iPad, I’m currently en route to Feis Ile 2015 and the excitement is building as I look forward to seeing whisky friends new and old, visiting great distilleries that are amongst the most iconic in the world and having an incredibly good time.
I will sign off for now, you will see more updates as I can through the week as I experience all this festival has to offer.
In the mean time, here are the releases available this year, from the Whisky Gospel website I so dearly love reading
Lagavulin – Open day on Saturday 23th May 2015
Lagavulin 1991 – 59.9% (Cask strength), £128, 3500 bottles
Triple maturation expression. short second maturation in PX casks and third maturation is a lengthy gentle maturation in old oak puncheons
Bruichladdich – Open day on Sunday 24th May 2015
50cl Black Art Valinch ‘High Noon’ – £100, 1881 bottles
Caol Ila – Open day on Monday 25th May 2015
Caol ila 1998 – 57.3%, £99, 1500 bottles
Triple maturation. First classic maturation in American Oak, double maturation in Moscatel, third gentle maturation in old oak puncheons.
Laphroaig – Open day on Tuesday 26th May 2015
Laphroaig Cairdeas (51.5% NAS but probably 2003 vintage)
A 11-12 yo whisky which is fully malted in the distillery malting floor instead of the usual combination of local malting with Port Ellen malting. I’m SO looking forward it! 🙂
Bowmore – Open day on Wednesday 27th 2015
Bowmore Feis Ile 2015 – 55.7%, 1000 Bottles, £55
This years special bottling for Feis Ile 2015 has been matured in hand-selected Virgin Oak casks and was bottled at natural cask strength. 700 bottles from this special release of 1000 bottles will go on sale at the Distillery Visitor Centre from 10am on Saturday 23rd May. The remaining 300 bottles will go on sale on Wednesday 27th May
Bowmore Feis Ile 2015 1988 Vintage, 26 Year Old – 248 Bottles, £350
Sherry Cask Matured whisky
In addition there is a Fill your own bottle: a 2002 Oloroso Sherry Cask No 2214. This bottling will be available from 10am on Saturday 23rd May. Price – £80
Jura – Open day on Thursday 28th May 2015
Jura Tastival 2015
Kilchoman – Open day on Thursday 28th May 2015
10th Anniversary bottling – 58.2%, 3000 bottles, £88.80
Will contain whiskey from 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 (source: Kilchoman site) from bourbon and sherry casks.
Islay Pipe Bank Single Cask
Islay Pipe Band single cask is a bourbon barrel filled in 2010 and finished a Pedro Ximenez sherry cask for 2 months prior to bottling. The release will available from Monday the 18th of May.
Bunnahabhain – Open day on Friday 29th May 2015
Rubha A’ Mhail 11yo, 1200 bottles
Not much is yet known on this whisky release but according to the blurb published by Bunnahabhain it’s rich and sweet, with a touch of sea salt. (so it’s probably a vatting of sherry casks here).
A Bunnahabhain expression, matured for 18 years in Moscatel wine cask with only 250 bottles available.
Ardbeg – Open day on Saturday 31st May 2015
Ardbeg Perpetuum – 49.2%, £70
This years Ardbeg day bottling is called Perpetuum. There were previous in-the-work titles such as Continuum and Bicentennial, but Perpetuum is the name and surprise, it’s already available in the distillery shop and on 4-May-2015 it was made available on the Ardbeg webshop. Buy it here.
Old Particular Laphroaig 2001 14 yo – 48.4%, 636 bottles, DL10694
Already on sale and will probably be on sale during the Festival as well.
Buy at the Green Well Stop for £89
Buy at The Whisky Barrel for £90.43
Buy at Reifferscheid’s Wine & Whisky Bonn, Germany for 119.9 Euro ([email protected])
SMWS 3.243 Dark, smouldering flamenco gypsy (17 yo Bowmore), 57.1%
From a refill ex-sherry butt with the color of ‘Coca-cola spilled on mahogany’, the smoke and sherry combination in this dram is sure to bring much pleasure and interest
£80 for SMWS members, £120 for non-members.