If there is one Scottish whisky festival that I’d recommend over all the others it’s the Islay Whisky Festival or “Fèis Ìle” to give it the correct Gaelic title.
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.
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.
Adelphi’s Winter Queen, whisky. Copyright photograph by Tina Norris.
The makers of some of the world’s most innovative whiskies have said they are rolling out the use of blockchain technology for their latest blend of Scotch and world whisky.
Fusion Whisky and its partners Adelphi Distillery said their new release, The Winter Queen, was a blend of European history and innovative blockchain technology, and was made by fusing Scotch with malt whisky from the Netherlands.
Washed, dried, powdered, fermented, and distilled; each bottle of whisky is perfected to make each sip an indelible moment. Whiskies are of many kinds, based on the base product, alcoholic content and quality. Malt, grain, single malt, blended malt, cask, single cask etc. roughly make up the whisky family.
Whisky has been in the world for a long time, precisely from the second century BC. It is first believed to have brewed in Mesopotamia. The art of distillation spread to Ireland and Scotland in about the fifteenth century but this was used for medicinal purposes. Even in medieval India, alcohol was reported to be used as an anaesthetic for surgical purposes. Even though it was considered a taboo to consume alcohol in the Britain and other parts of Europe, it was finally James IV of Scotland who broke the ice by ordering several gallons of whisky from the monasteries, who monopolised the art of distilling. But with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VII, distilling and whisky making moved to homes. Even then whiskies were not allowed to age and thus had a bitter taste. Finally in the year of 1606, the Bushmill old distillery was given the license to brew the Irish whisky and the distillation later evolved into a much sought out fashion and whiskies became a daily business with the Act of Union which officially brought forth the United Kingdom.
With Christmas, a distant memory and spring a long way off, the end of January isn’t a traditionally cheerful time unless you follow Scottish tradition and throw a party to rival Hogmanay on the 25th. Burns Night is a celebration of the great Robert Burns, national hero and Scotland’s most beloved poet, and a great excuse to shake off the winter blues.
James McTaggart, Master Distiller at Isle of Arran Distillers who produce the world’s only official Robert Burns Malt, is well versed in how to throw a brilliant Burns Night celebration. Here he shares his top choice of whiskies to accompany the festivities.
When you go to the website of Wemyss (pronounced as Weems) malts, you read the following:
The Wemyss family have had a longstanding passion for malt whisky and their connections with the industry date back to the turn of the 19th century when John Haig (founder of Haig’s) built his first distillery on Wemyss land.
And the passion they write about, you will find this in every whisky they release. And their range of hand crafted malts was conceived with the aim of making them more accessible and understandable.
The second Harrow Whisky Festival will again take place at the stunning Best western plus Grim’s Dyke Hotel in Harrow Weald (London) set in the beautiful Lady Gilbert’s Gardens. Short taxi ride from Undergrounds.
A superb line-up of exhibitors with an increase of more than 50% from the first festival. Distillers, bottlers and blenders will take up positions in two festival rooms. Talks will be in the prestigious Sullivan Suite used in filming of Sliding Doors, One Chance (James Corden) and many more.
A while ago, I was talking to Femke Tijtsma Sijtsma, one of the rare whisky women in my list of contacts. I don’t mean to be degrading or so, it’s just a fact that for some or other reason, women are a rarity in the whisky world.
Bowmore, ‘the first Islay Single Malt since 1779’, introduceert Bowmore Small Batch, de eerste permanente toevoeging aan het Bowmore assortiment sinds 2006. Small Batch is gerijpt op uitsluitend ‘first & second fill’ bourbon vaten en wordt gebotteld op 40% alc.