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Sunday, 25 May 2008

Feis Ile Day 2: "we're not from london, you know."

“We’re not from London, you know.”

Phew. What a day. Sea air, sunshine, Scotch and sea food (oh, and Average White Band).

The day started early with a 7.30am drive from the hotel (meaning rising at 6.30am for a 7am brekky) to the ferry port in Kennacraig. Thankfully the sun was bright and the sea calm, despite the excitement of the passengers, many of whom were adorned in their Swedish / German / Dutch / Narnia Whisky Club fleece tops. T-shirt of the day goes to a gent at Lagavulin which had the ‘Walt Disney’ logo adapted to tastefully read ‘Malt Whisky’.

Also following on from our Grobbelaar spot at Heathrow airport, special mention must go to the leather waistcoat wearing Will Ferrell / Mick Fleetwood Hybrid who seemed to be stalking us from Lagavulin to bunnahabhain.

Anyway, to business with the whiskies and it’s been a real whirlwind.

We’ll start with our breakfast dram of choice so far-


Highland Park – Old Malt Cask- 23 YO – NAS – 50% Vol – 50ml

This miniature was procured on our drive down the Kintyre Peninsula from Loch Fyne Whiskies and seemed like a most suitable way to start the day in style!

Nose: Fragrant notes, heather, all- spice and sweet sherry all rush thru, with a really pleasing aroma of real ginger beer.

Palate: At first, a briney wave hits the tongue and distracts your taste buds- whilst sweet, zesty and spiced notes kick the back door in! The alcohol level in this bottling is just right in our opinion and you get a very smooth, warming sherried mouth-feel on the death, which is prevalent in most of the older HP’s we’ve tried.

Finish: More brine again but hints of spring onion start to appear as it continues and there’s a welcome return to the sweetness.

Overall: A nicely rounded HP, perhaps showing its age a little now. Not quite as magnificent as the 18 YO, but a rousingly pleasant experience enjoyed at 10.30am on a blustery ferry crossing!!


Lagavulin Open Day:

As our CalMac sea beast lumbered into Port Ellen, we had only 2 things on our mind- Lagavulin and fresh seafood (oh...and Average White Band)

We were not disappointed. The Lagavulin open day, not only delivered great whisky but an array of freshly cooked local scallops and homemade cakes. Complementary drams of Joel’s Favourite expression the 16 YO were passed around and a bottle each of the Feis Ile Special release purchased:

Lagavulin – Dist. 1993 / Bottled 2008 – 15 YO – OB – Cask No. 1403 – 52.9% Vol.

We will be drinking this at the managers tasting later in the week, so we will post comprehensive tasting notes and details of this bottling once we have had time to ingest it with it’s creator.

All in, the Lagavulin open day seemed a roaring success with the bright sunshine beating down it’s blessing upon the Isle.

The evenings entertainment was supplied by the good people of Bruichalddich at a soiree in Port Charlotte. Needless to say, Bruichladdich put as much creative effort into their entertainment as they do their whisky. If there is one aspect of the Feis Ile that will linger in the memory, it is the fantastic hospitality and extreme generosity of the island folk. The Bruichladdich soiree typified this, with an awesome array of food (more scallops, this time cooked with Bruichladdich by Marco the Chef as we looked on, local shellfish, meats and cheese from Orkney) and entertainment supplied by an excellent a young, local Ceilidh band. As Saturday evening drew to a close with the sun melting into the sea and a glass of Bruichladdich Fifteen in the hand, it provided the perfect end to our first day on the Isle and a wonderful prelude to Sunday’s open day at ‘Laddie.