The Fèis Ìle started in 1985 as a celebration of Islay & Gaelic culture and was not really conceived as a whisky festival. But whisky is a big part of Islay culture so it was inevitable that it would become an important element of Feis Ile.
The festival in its current format, whereby each distillery hosts an open day, started in earnest in 2000. Since then the festival has become firmly established as one of the highlight events in the whisky calendar and this popularity means you need to be well prepared.
So here are some top tips that will help you make the most of a visit to Fèis Ìle.
First they pot-distil from locally-grown barley, then re-distil the spirit in Puffing Billy to turn it into vodka. Regular filtration would strip away the character and texture of the barley, so instead the spirit vapours are steamed through charcoal
inside the still itself rather than filtered as a liquid.
Whilst restrictions remain in place around the world, the annual World Whisky Day will return Saturday 16th May, as an online celebration of the whisky community. A series of events will take place online, featuring Jura Single Malt Whisky, and key figures from across the industry including World Whisky Day Founder, Blair Bowman, and special guests.
The world has had to respond to the challenging times we face, including the whisky community in Scotland and worldwide. WWD and Whyte & Mackay responded with a reimagined online event, to provide an opportunity for the community to come together, mark the day, and recognize the people in the industry in aid of The Drinks Trust – the charity for the drinks industry.
Tomatin Single Malt will be hosting the world’s first Lockdown Whisky Festival this April.
Alongside an array of whisky brands including Glen Moray, Arran and BenRiach, with a view to bringing enjoyment to the general public and the whisky industry which, like many others, has faced event cancellations and postponements in recent weeks.
An iconic addition to the collection, Redbreast 27 Year Old includes whiskey matured in ruby port barrels from Portugal’s Douro Valley to bring a new complexity and depth to the Redbreast collection.
Crime writer Ian Rankin will be guest of honour when the Fife Whisky Festival returns to the Kingdom next month. The author, who was born in Cardenden, Fife, will speak at the whisky-themed dinner which opens the event at Lindores Abbey Distillery in Newburgh.
He said: “As a keen whisky drinker I’m delighted to be speaking at the Festival. Whisky is one of the wonders of Scotland. Sharing a few whiskies with a friend is the ultimate act of conviviality.
Irish Distillers, makers of some of the world’s most enjoyed whiskeys, has introduced Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest, the third release in the Dair Ghaelach collection. A remarkable addition to the Midleton Very Rare story, the new expression has matured in barrels made from virgin Irish oak grown in Knockrath Forest, County Wicklow, reinforcing Midleton’s provenance and its standing as a true taste of Ireland.
The third exclusive release for the Wemyss Malts Cask Club; Black Gold is an exceptional single cask single malt from Bowmore distillery. Black Gold is single sherry hogshead cask of 1989 Bowmore that has matured for 30 years and bottled at a cask strength of exactly 50.0%ABV.
Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, tracing its distillation roots back to 1779.
The Islay Sea Collection, a group of seven malt whiskies from each of Islay’s coastal distilleries presented in a one of a kind display case is set to go under the hammer in this month’s Just Whisky auction with all proceeds going to the Portrush and Islay volunteer lifeboat crews.
The bottles and cask staves, which form the display case, were collected by a group of keen sailors who rowed 110 miles from Northern Ireland to Islay earlier this year.