Category Archives:NEWS

Bunna Feis Bottle 30 Anniversary
Jun. 07.

Fèis Ìle 30 Years Anniversary Bottling

Feis Bot 8

Official Bottling from the Fèis Ìle Committee

13 YO Marsala Cask Finish Bunnahabhain

46.3 % abv. (alcohol by volume) non chill filtered.

Hand labelled and Handfilled by Fèis Ìle committee members. Only 100 bottles were filled. Roughly 80 bottles were for sale.

We call this the Locals Bottle ~ as mainly locals ~ and a few lucky visitors bought it.

It is a STUNNING dram. I love it.

Colour is antique gold, a well loved wedding ring.

Nice bubbles around the side of the glass upon pouring ~ the liquid is fine, not heavy. A mouthfeel of satin rather than velevet.

A thin band of gold floated on top, there was lots of space between each teardrop or legs.

Honey and Peaches.

 Stewed raisins.

Toast and Marmalade.

Then,  a fresh floral nose. I thought of candyfloss clouds – and salmon!

Roses, bananas, wet wood and redcurrants. A very fuzzy warm buzz to the alcohol. No strong nose burn at all.

A scent of pears and fruits coming in from the left. Then American cream soda & burnt tyres in the middle – the layer of Bunnahabhain is found!

The dram is confident, sweet and tumbling. Lovely mouthfeel. A sweetness to the back of the tongue. Then a stronger band of flavour and a long, cosy finish  streaming down to linger in your chest.

 You feel like a huge, fuzzy skinned, round, sun warm peach is filling the inside of your mouth.

A reminder of fresh pears and some kind of white blossom – maybe Hawthorn blossoms.

In the heart is seasalt, slightly creamy and heavy, there is vanillin,  and a hint of oily fishiness –  this gives the dram it’s strength in body.

 Again, a second nose bringing apricots and smoked fish.

There is a lacy, flowery overlay. To the right comes again,  a signature Bunnahabhain note of  american cream soda.

This is not a heavy dram. But, neither is it light. It is like an adolescent teetering on the brink of adulthood – all the optomistic power, without any of the pain! A perfect balance.

There comes again a briny tint, a slight fizz in the mouthfeel.

I pour another glass….

This is a stunning, warm hearted dram celebrating

30 Years of warm hearted friendships of Fèis Ìle.

Here’s to the next 30 Years.

Slàinte!

Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Mar. 07.

Islay Drams Avert War……

ISLAY DECLARES WAR ON BRITAIN

David Cameron was in Downing St, when his phone rang.

“Hello prime minister,” a heavily accented Islay voice said, “this is Lucci speaking over here in the Bowmore bar, Islay, we are sick of high petrol prices, food prices, and I do not like a lot of your policies, so I am calling to tell you that we are officially declaring war on you”.

“Well then,” David replied. “This is indeed important, how big is your army?”

“Right now”, said Lucci after a moments calculation “There is myself, big brother Alistair, Donkey, my next door neighbour, and all of the bar staff”.

David paused, “I must tell you Lucci I have 70,000 men in my army, waiting to move on my command”.

“Wow”, said Lucci, “I will have to call you back”.

Sure enough, the next day Lucci called again.

“Mr Cameron, the war is still on, we have managed to acquire some infantry equipment”

“And what equipment would that be?” David asked.

“Well sir, we got two combines, a bulldozer, three big tractors, and two Clydesdales”.  The prime minister sighed “I must tell you Lucci that I have 3,000 tanks and 1,200 personnel carriers, also I have increased my army to 100,000 since we last spoke”.

“All right,” said Lucci “I’ll be getting back to you”.

Sure enough, Lucci rang again the next day.

“Mr Cameron, the war is still on. Duncan McGillivray has made us a helicopter out of old machinery from Bruichladddich, and we’ve put a couple of shotguns in the cockpit. Also, Tosh Philco and the bar staff from Duffie’s have joined us”.

David was silent for a minute, then cleared his throat.

“I must tell you, Lucci, that I have 500 bombers and 200 fighter planes, and since we spoke, I have increased my army to 2,000,000 men”.

“2,000,000 you say” said Lucci, “I’ll have to call you back”.

Sure enough, Lucci called back the next day. “Mr Cameron, I’m sorry to have to tell you we have had to call off this war”.

“I’m sorry to hear that”, said David. “Why the sudden change of heart?”

“Well”, said Lucci, “we sat down over a few beers and a few drams into the wee hours of the morning, and came to the conclusion that there’s no way we could feed 2,000,000 prisoners”.

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Probably a true story ~ ably recounted by Mr John Gallagher.

Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Jul. 21.

Whisky for Girls Presents ~ Girls for Whisky

Women in Whisky  are standing on the shoulders of giants ~  Emily Pankhurst, Millicent Fawcett, Bessie Williamson, Sheila Burtles, to name but a few.

We owe a great debt to these forward thinking independent women. Emily Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett for fighting for our rights as women, Bessie Williamson for leading the way for women in distillery management, being one of the first, if not the first, woman distillery manager. She was manager, then in 1954 became owner of Laphroaig Distillery. Sheila Burtles is one of the pioneers who created the whisky flavour wheel ~ without which concept we would struggle to decipher or describe the notes in our lovely drams.

Today, Whisky for Girls would like to introduce some of the amazing women who continue this pioneering tradition and are working in and around the whisky industry, opening up a traditionally male dominated arena for the benefit of all.

 Without further ado I present……………………………

KELLY CARPENTER

 JOINT FOUNDER OF THE CANADIAN SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY.    http://www.smws.ca/

 Where do you live?    Calgary, Canada

What do you do?    My husband and I are the founders of the Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Where did your interest in whisky come from?    I grew up around whisky as both my parents enjoyed it.

How long have you been drinking whisky?    I dabbled in it in University, and always kept a bottle or two around, but it was when Rob and I moved to Scotland for a year in 2004 that my interest and passion really started to take off.

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   First dram:  probaby a Chivas as that was what the folks drank.  Last dram:  last night, one of my favourite Society bottlings from a few years back, 33.70 “Keith Richards meets Socrates”.  Next dram:  probably another fabulous Society dram, but which one depends on my mood, the weather, the time of day… 

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    In the next 10 years – I’d like to say early retirement, but realistically we hope to be running a well-established, successful branch of The SMWS and enjoying all the fun things that come with that, like traveling, hosting tastings and meeting great people who love whisky!

When are you coming to see us in Islay?    I’ve been to Islay twice – it’s such a neat place!  We’ll be in Scotland at the end of August but sadly a trip to Islay isn’t in the cards this time.  

What can the industry do to improve things for women?    If you mean in terms of getting more women interested in whisky, there’s already been a real shift in the demographics of who’s drinking whisky now. I see it all the time at tastings and festivals we attend where young, curious women are keen to learn about whisky, perhaps because their husbands/boyfriends/fathers/brothers drink it. It’s encouraging!  Within the industry, we’re seeing more and more women in significant roles like “distillery manager” and “master blender” which were traditionally held by men.  Social media is also playing a part as people like yourself and others share their thoughts through Twitter, Facebook, websites/blogs, etc.  Anything that women in the industry can do to alleviate some of the intimidation is key for women who are just starting to learn about whisky!

I think marketing and packaging play a big part too.  My husband always teases me because I will often buy wine based on the label design without too much concern for the contents (needless to say, that’s backfired on me more than a few times).  But the point is that women are highly visual creatures and certain brands are realizing that the shape of the bottle, for example, can attract curious new buyers.  When Glenmorangie redesigned their bottles a few years ago, they made them much more feminine-looking; almost reminiscent of a perfume bottle.  Women respond to that.  I’m encouraged by the number of women I see showing interest in whisky and I’m sure the trend will continue.
 
What’s next?    What’s next?  A dram, of course!  : )
 
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PENNY ELLIS

 DIRECTOR OF THE SPIRIT OF SPEYSIDE WHISKY FESTIVAL    http://www.spiritofspeyside.com/

 Where do you live?  I live in Speyside in a small village close to the town of Forres.

What do you do?    My main role is owning and managing with my husband Knockomie Hotel in Forres. We are a small 15 bedroom Inn with a large selection of single malts and blended whiskies stocked in the Malt Library. Being located in the beautiful Speyside region we have over 20 distilleries close by. Many are open to visitors and have great visitor centres, that attract tourists and whisky enthusiasts from all over the world. I also a Director of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. The festival attracts visitors from as far away as Canada, Japan and India as well visitors from Europe and the United Kingdom. I also write a monthly Whisky Column for the Scots Magazine.

Where did your interest in whisky come from?   Having known Gavin, my husband, for over 25  years whisky has always featured in celebrations, and over the years through working for two whisky companies and also selling it at Knockomie, I have developed an interest in the ‘water of life’. 

 How long have you been drinking whisky?     I have been drinking whisky since my early twenties. When you are living in Edinburgh, it soon becomes apparent that when you are socialising with friends the subject of whisky comes up and everyone has an opinion!

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   My first dram was at Hogmanay one year and it was a Bell’s blended whisky. My last dram was a Glenlivet Nadurra, a stunning example of a Speyside Single malt.Nadurra is Gaelic for natural, and this cask strength 16 year old is matured in first fill ex-bourbon casks, it has a soft fragrant and floral nose with a gentle toffee sweetness and creamy palate, this will be a favourite of mine. For my next whisky, I would like to try Laphroaig Triple Wood, it looks very interesting and so it shall look forward to savouring a dram of it.

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?   Over the next 10 years I would like to develop my enthusiasm and passion for whisky further, writing more about. I have written a book, published this year called Distinguished Distilleries, it’s aimed at the whisky enthusiast or  tourist and takes you around Scotland giving a short insight in to 40 different distilleries. I would also like to introduce more women to whisky and offer more bespoke tastings aimed at women.

When are you coming to see us in Islay?    I very much hope to visit Islay this Autumn.

What can the industry do to improve things for women?   I think the industry is working hard to capture the female market and there are a number of brand ambassadors who are women and who are actively promoting and introducing women to whisky. Let’s all just keep up the good work!

What’s next?   For me, I will continue to run Knockomie and wherever I can I will learn more about our national drink and promote it to new and existing enthusiasts. I am intending to speak and do a whisky tasting at a Whisky Club in the North West of England, I hope this will be the first of many.

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 FEMKE TIJTSMA SIJTSMA 

 WHISKYGIRL    http://whiskygirl.nl/

 Where do you live?    The Netherlands in a small town in the north ,called Hallum. Here it’s famous for it’s cookies and rusk.

What do you do?   I run an online administration office in combination with cloud tools. My partner has his own company which I make part of.  My job is to take care of the administration and the marketing.

Where did your interest in whisky come from?    When I was 18, I fell in love with whisky.  I was staying at a friends place, He just returned from Scotland, and he brought some bottles home with him. We had a nice evening, chatting about his journey and there came the glass of whisky. As you may know, I’m curious, than and now.  From the first sip of the golden drink I was hooked. There was something that a seed has been planted and something was growing… a grow of whisky interest. I never tasted anything like it. All I know is, that this particular whisky came from scotland.

How long have you been drinking whisky?    Since I was 18. I’m 33 now… so around 15 years. The interest in whisky has never left me. But since a few years, the interest became bigger. I visit the Whisky Festival in Leiden ( now Den Haag) and I was amazed about the range of whisky,  I tasted whisky, where I didn’t knew  the existence. I met someone who  had a stand there. He told me about a whiskyforum.(hetwhiskyforum.nl) and there was an need of woman :-)…  My whisky interest has been pulled into an new dimension. When I got home, I went to the website and became a member. I’ve met a lot of interesting  people.

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   I can’t remember my first one, unfortunately  …. All I know it was fantastic and never tasted anything like it again. Maybe thats the drive to go on this whisky adventure. My last one was at the North Sea Jazz festival. I had the Highland park 12 yr at the Famous Grouse Bar. And my next? Visit my website….

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    I hope my website and my name is known everywhere. When you say whiskygirl, no explanation is needed. Within a year or two I’d like to be part of a Whisky Festival.  Sometimes I’m joking about having my own whisky distillery and launching my own whisky… you never know. I’m working on a business plan. I’ve got lot’s of ideas for the next 10 years.

When are you coming to see us in Islay?     Between now and a year, I hope…. I’m planning a trip, but that takes time.

 What can the industry do to improve things for women?   Playing with the design of the bottles.  Other free things to go with it..  not only “man things”. We woman are upcoming in the whisky market.  And we’d like it a little bit different than most man.  I’m not saying, it has to be pink. But more sweet, sexy and smooth. Make room for a new image, to attract more woman. Now we haven’t got a very nice image…just picture google on Whisky and woman….  It’s a shame. For example. Just look at the washing advertising on tv. Where are all the men who are washing their clothes. Slowly there is a change in this image. So also in the whisky and women combination. 

What’s next?    Just keep an eye on whiskygirl. I may surprise you 

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ALWYNNE GWILT

 MISS WHISKY     http://misswhisky.com/                   Photo: imageRevolver

Where do you live?   London, England

What do you do?   Freelance Journalist and Blogger

Where did your interest in whisky come from?   I went to a tasting about four and a half years ago at a small whisky shop called Milroys in London. I thought I hated whisky as I’d had bad experiences when I was younger with horrid cheap blends, but that night my eyes were opened to the beauty of single malts.

How long have you been drinking whisky?   Since February 2008! A well-remembered evening!

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   Unfortunately, I don’t remember my first dram. My last was a secret one from Islay which I don’t know the name of as I am a judge in some whisky awards, so they don’t label the drams. My next one will almost certainly be another random Islay whisky – I’ve still got 23 to go!

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    I hope to keep exploring the world of whisky, learning about new countries emerging onto the whisky scene and furthering the fact that us ladies enjoy a dram as much as the fellas do! But 10 years? Gosh, that’s a while yet. I’ve only been drinking it for less than five, so I can only hope to double my exposure in that time. Fingers crossed!

When are you coming to see us in Islay?   Oooo good question! I hope to get up there this autumn (maybe September?) if I can as I’ve still only driven through rather than properly visited Islay so it’s a big one on my list!

What can the industry do to improve things for women?    That’s a tricky one. I know so many amazing women who work in this industry who really love what they do and don’t see any difference between how they are treated and how the men are. Yes, there are loads more men working in the whisky world, but I think that is slowly changing. On the note of women who drink whisky and maybe trying to get more into it – I think that will only develop over time. The whisky world is a slow moving one but we’re seeing huge step changes in how it’s marketed and advertised and I think that will only increase the number of females, and younger (ie: below 35-year-olds) who drink drams.

What’s next?   I hope to just keep encouraging more people to discover whisky, whether female, male, young or old. I’m constantly doing this in my inner circles of friends and family, but hope Miss Whisky (my website) will encourage more women to get into it. Equally, I love hearing people’s stories, especially those of the women in the industry, and can’t wait to keep sharing those with the wider audience.

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AMANDA LUDLOW

 

CO FOUNDER OF THE WHISKY LOUNGE    http://www.thewhiskylounge.com/

 Where do you live?    York

What do you do?    I organise Festival side of The Whisky Lounge and I am the Commercial Director of The Great Whisky Company which specialises in distributing interesting Whiskies to the on and off trade exclusively and our first client is Berry Brothers and Rudd

Where did your interest in whisky come from?   My Daddy and my husband

How long have you been drinking whisky?    6 months

What was your first dram/last/next dram?    Bushmills Black Bush, Jameson’s Select Reserve and Berry Brother 1980 Coal Ila

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    More drinking of mine malts in small amounts, more learning and converting others to do the same

When are you coming to see us in Islay?    Hopefully at the end of July start of August

 What can the industry do to improve things for women?    the industry is welcoming from my point of view I think we need to educate women to the beauty of whisky if we succeed in doing that they will be joining the industry in droves

What’s next ?   Right now organising the TWL Liverpool Manchester and 10th Anniversary Festival in York 13th October.  Planning for 2013 with TWL Festivals in France 2013 and Belfast 2013, possibly a new distillery project, plus 2 new clients for The Great Whisky Company in the Autumn all fingers crossed.

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ALLISON PATEL

 OWNER AT LOCAL INFUSIONS AN IMPORT/EXPORT COMPANY http://thewhiskywoman.wordpress.com/

Where do you live?    New York City, USA

What do you do?   I run my own spirits import/export company, Local Infusions, where I focus on independent craft producers.  I search the globe for unique, hand-crafted products, focusing mostly on whiskies produced in non-traditional countries and manage my blog. I am also preparing to launch my own whisky, Brenne, a French Single Malt that’s been finished in Cognac casks. When I first met with this 3rd generation Cognac distiller 2 years ago, I learned that he was making whisky as a side project.  He had no interest in marketing and selling it so I set up a partnership with him and offered to create the brand around this beautiful whisky and handle all of the sales if he continues to make it. There is nothing like it on the market and I can honestly say it is the most approachable whisky I have ever tasted.  I’m so excited to be launching it in NYC first this Fall!

Where did your interest in whisky come from?   My husband!  Every night after dinner he would relax with a good single malt.  I didn’t think I liked whisky so I tried everything else looking for my own night cap.  Then one night we were in lower Manhattan at a bar called Vintry Wine & Whisky and having just returned from South Korea, he had a new-found love for Japanese whiskies.  He ordered a Yamazaki 18yr, I took the first sip and never gave him back his glass!  I was hooked and never looked back.

How long have you been drinking whisky?    Since the Summer of 2008

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   First was Yamazaki 18, Last was Mackmyra Special 07, Next … something later on tonight!

 Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    Hopefully still running my company.  I’d like to be able to look back and see an integration of craft whiskies all around the world.  I know there is a supply & demand issue and one of the appeals of “craft” is that it’s limitedly produced – but I don’t think every product needs to be in every market.  However, I do believe that every country has pockets of consumers who are passionate about whisky, eager to learn, experience & share and I’d like to be one of the people that can help bring these amazing, global craft whiskies to them. 

When are you coming to see us in Islay?    Does tomorrow work? 😉

What can the industry do to improve things for women?   Not separate us from the men.  I think whisky separates the boys from the men, but not the women from the men! 😉 It doesn’t matter to me if your male, female or somewhere inbetween; if you enjoy your brown spirits, then that’s what it’s all about!  Don’t “dumb it down” or start putting rainbows and glitter on your labels to try to attract more female consumers.  Just focus on making something that tastes great. Period.

What’s next?   Launching Brenne!

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 MYSELF! ~ RACHEL MACNEILL

 Photo ~ imageRevolver

OWNER OF WHISKY FOR GIRLS & WILD AND MAGIC ISLAY TRAVEL CO http://www.whiskyforgirls.com/home/

Where do you live?    Isle of Islay, Scotland

What do you do?    I run Whisky for Girls company which  started just for fun, as a joke really, as a way to introduce my friends and other women to whisky,  and like all great jokes it took on a life of it’s own. Whisky for Girls integrates people,  drams, the process, the elements and the humour and graft and shows it to people and acts as a bridge between just whisky focussed things and peoples lives.  Whisky for Girls has whisky tours to Islay for women and men,  Slow Dram Whisky Tasting, and is developing an online whisky club. I also have Wild and Magic Islay travel co., Wild and Magic Islay Apparel and Whisky for Girls Jewellery.

Where did your interest in whisky come from?  When I was teenage we used to go into the distillery at night after a dance and visit the boys on night shift. We would have a cup of the wash to warm us up, or a drop of something stronger! and I would make them take me round (and then round again) the distillery explaining everything to me.

How long have you been drinking whisky? Since I was a teenager

What was your first dram/last/next dram?    First dram was probably a White Horse, the blend from Lagavulin which was in it’s hay day away back then. Last dram was a Laphroaig 10 year old found in the back of my kitchen cupboard the other night in a honey jar! and next dram is probably going to be a Kilchoman 100% Islay

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?   I want to learn lots more about maturation and blending. I find it so fascinating. I want to learn all this stuff then write about it in an accessible way for women (and men) so to demistify whisky, but by doing so one actually really appreciates the natural magic of it all.

What can the industry do to improve things for women?   More images of women and whisky in the media. Less guff about golf (for example) and exclusive clubs, don’t just advertise your stuff in whisky magazines, take it to the mainstream,  less big secret talk using words that sounds cool and are not explained to the less knowledgeable  to maintain a feeling of power in the talker! Making whisky connected to everyday things and stuff that people do ~ music, books, food, dance, sport, talking, poetry, parties.  Less guff about tasting and more about drinking with friends. Remembering that the drink comes from the elements and everyone is connected to the elements, so all people can connect with and drink whisky. Get whisky into spas and beauty parlours and bridal shops…… (maybe not hairdressers, though) it’s endless!

What’s next? I’m writing a whisky book which I hope will be ready next year ~ but I’m not exactly speedy so we will see.  I want to develop Slow Dram Whisky Tasting (very appropriate….) and go out and do tastings for people all over the world. I want to bring more women (and men) to Islay and take them round the distilleries. I think it’s great for people to see the dram being made and to taste it in the distillery. I made whisky at Bruichladdich and I signed the log book in the still house ~ it was a great feeling!

 

 

THANK YOU TO ALL THE WONDERFUL WOMEN WHO TOOK PART IN THIS ARTICLE ~ YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION, AND AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO DRINK WHISKY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Jul. 18.

Whisky for Girls Cask on Islay Whisky Lorry

 Whisky for Girls are very excited to have their own display cask on a restored Albion Cheiftain lorry  ~ now the Islay Whisky Lorry ~ owned by Mr Duffie MacNeill, a retired business man from Islay.

 

The lorry was built in 1950 and Duffie bought it in Preston from Terry Bullas, who lovingly restored it.

These Albion Cheiftain lorries were used for haulage in Islay by the Co operative Society. Duffie remembers when the Co op garages were in Shore Street, Bowmore and his brother and Neil Johnston were drivers. This lorry has been restored in the original Co op colours. It was repainted by WH Malcolm and all the sign writing was done by hand in the traditional way by Mr J F Rippey.

These lorries were common sights in and about the Islay distilleries in the past.  When Duffie brought this restored lorry back to Islay in April  this year he decided to furnish the lorry with display casks from all the distilleries. The distilleries provided the casks, some stencilled them, and some were done by Duffie’s wife Roberta. There is even one  with the original stencil from Port Ellen Distillery. Douglas MacTaggart found the stencil his father had and he and Duffie inked up a cask with it.

I was delighted when Duffie asked  if Whisky for Girls would like to have our own cask on the lorry.

Lewis Boyd and Scott Shaw  supplied me with Bowmore Distillery stencils and Duffie and I set to work today making the cask ready for it’s place on the lorry.

I thought one end of the cask looked better than the other as I made a better job of the stencilling as I got nearer the end! 

We displayed my cask beside the Bowmore one as they were kind enough to help Whisky for Girls out with the stencil.

It was great fun to do, then we rolled the cask up a ladder onto the lorry.

Duffie put a rope net over the barrels just incase, although they are all firmly attached to the lorry.

You can see the ink stained hands as I display the finished cask!

Duffie is taking the lorry to the mainland this weekend to take part in a famous road run called ‘Gang Warily’ in memory of Peter Drummond.   http://www.albion-trust.org.uk/events-calendar 

Last year the rally had around 40 vehicles taking  part, this year there maybe more. The route is about 60 miles long and takes in Dalkeith and Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway to name but a few places.

If you are driving on mainland Scotland this weekend, look out for Duffie from Islay’s lorry with a display cask from all the Islay distilleries ~ and, also, the Whisky for Girls cask!

The Whisky for Girls Cask is now a permanent part of the display on the lorry.

Duffie told Whisky for Girls he is happy to realise his long term ambition of owning one of these old lorries, and bringing home a piece of Islay’s history.

We hope in the very far future people will look back on Whisky for Girls as a part of Islay’s herstory and be pleased to see our cask on the whisky lorry along with the other  famous brands!

Thank you so much to Duffie for his support and to Scott and Lewis and the boys from Bowmore Distillery for their help.

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Jun. 02.

FEIS ILE ~ ARDBEG

 Ardbeg Open Day entertained with good music, huge festival bottles of whisky and a great crowd.

 Manager Mickey Heads and Stillman Neil Philco gave masterclasses where the participants tasted six drams ~

 Still Young ~

10 year old  Cask no 2163 57.8% from 2002

14 year old from a sherry cask Cask 2722 53.9%

16 year old refill Bourbon Cask no. 2763 50.2% bottled in 1995

21 year old from a sherry cask bottled in 2002   1975

1975 ~ 36 year old  in warehouse  Cask No.4714

 

Frank from  Whisky Freunde Club in Cologne described the Ardbeg Festival Dram 56.7%

~ Long dry finish, fresh on the nose, young, sweet in original mouthfeel, and fruity with a bit of spice.

 In the festival bottle queue,  Whisky for Girls met John and Glenis ~ a couple whose love affair with whisky created their own love affair. They were married in Islay in a romantic ceremony with a couple of strangers as their witness. They have an amazing collection of rare Ardbegs. Glenis hunts them down, presenting John on his birthday with bottle number 4700 from the Japanese market, released in 2002. ‘I hound people until they give me what I want’  Glenis told me!

 People danced with the flags from their country as the band played

 And Manager’s wife, Margaret was crowned Queen of Ardbeg

 

 

Another great day where the sun shone and the drams flowed.

Whisky for Girls would like to thank everyone  who joined  ITS NOT JUST WHISKY FOR GIRLS CLUB.

We would like to thank everyone who granted us an interview, and/or  gave us some lovely drams to taste.

We would like to thank everyone who supported Whisky for Girls in any shape or form over the duration of the festival ~ and we look forward to welcoming you all back next year.

SLAINTE!

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Jun. 01.

FEIS ILE ~ BUNNAHABHAIN

WE HEART BUNNAHABHAIN ~ as they say on Twitter! What a FANTASTIC open day.

 Beautiful drams ~ the Bunnahabhain  is so smooth you drink it like Mother’s milk. Manager Andrew Brown told Whisky for Girls ~Bunnahabhain 18 years old is like fruitcake, rich and sweet and fruity. Whisky for Girls say; It slips over your tongue, you don’t even think about adding water. The Bunnahabhain 12 years old is similarly smooth.

The hospitality was great ~ we were offered Raspberry fruit smoothies with a dash of 12 year old. Such a healthy breakfast: fruit and whisky~ sets one up for the day!

 The band played mellow music, the sun shone, dozens of people signed up for Whisky for Girls IT’S NOT JUST WHISKY FOR GIRLS CLUB, a lovely lady from the USA ordered a Whisky for Girls Hand made Silver charm bracelet. We met the cool Neil & Joel from http://caskstrength.blogspot.co.uk/ ~ cool and  knowledgeable (you don’t always find the two together, but you do with these guys!)

 Then, Whisky for Girls got a ‘whisky in the shoe’ picture with Bunnahabhain Manager Andrew with  THE No.1 BOTTLE of the Bunnahabhain Festival Bottling 2012. 

 This dram has an Amontillado sherry finish which gives it a sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel. It is a single cask 54.3% 12 years old, and there were 346 bottles. Manager Andrew said it can be reminiscent of American Cream Soda! It is young and rounded, with a long finish, slightly dry.

We met a bunch of Italian guys (one of whom is married to an Islay girl) who have their own whisky club  ~  S.M.I.LE. ~ and come to Islay for the festival

 The guy in the yellow shirt did very well at the Bunnahabhain tossing the caber competition!

Whisky for Girls met Dominik from Germany, Marty from America,  Sandy from Scotland and people from everywhere ~ this was a multicultural day. People lazed on the grass and watched the ferry sail down the sound, they ate clams cooked with whisky, they danced to the band, they bought cakes and prints of the distilleries ~ and they drank drams and drank more drams!

 

 

 

It was a great day ~ thanks to Bunnahabhain Manager Andrew and all the team for their wonderful hospitality. Whisky for Girls and everyone will definitely return to Bunnahabhain next year!

 

 

 

 

 

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May. 31.

FEIS ILE agus DIURA ~ KILCHOMAN & JURA

WHAT A DAY!! TWO OPEN DAYS IN 12 HOURS ~ Whew………

First off Whisky for Girls headed to Kilchoman Distillery. It must have been a bit early for me ‘cos when we arrived and I saw all the people queing up, I said to my friend, Ewald, ‘what are they queing for………?’

We were queing for our festival bottle from Kilchoman ~ and it was worth the wait.

Anthony Wills and staff were busy cooking up welcome bacon rolls, the girls in the cafe had the coffee on the go, and ‘Deoch and Dorus’ were tuning up in the malt barn. 

In the queue we met the couple who own the FoL car number plate that I photographed at Laphroaig ~ Sabine and Rainer. They are from Frankfurt and have been coming to Islay since 2007.  Every year they stay a little longer, this time they are here for 3 weeks. In a couple of years I think they will end up just staying here…….!

 The first guy in the door to buy the bottle was Andreas Hofmann who owns ‘Scotland’s Glory’ whisky shop in Wurzburg. He bought the first bottle of Kilchoman last year, too.

 We got a brilliant shot of the Whisky for Girls shoe with the Kilchoman Festival Bottle

 This is a good dram with a short finish, not that smooth yet, but it is only young.  I like the Kilchoman Inaugural 100% Islay ~ my friend says I am biased due to the name! Maybe………, but I support the endeavour to be 100% Islay.

Then, sadly we had to leave and head to Isle of Jura to sample the delights in store for us there.

 Ewald Baron and friends supporting ITS NOT JUST WHISKY FOR GIRLS CLUB  at Port Askaig on the way to Jura ~ whilst drinking his Kilchoman Festival Dram.

The Paps were shrouded in mist as we took the 4 minute ferry journey over to Jura.  When we arrrived at the distillery we were ushered into the glamorous new reception centre to begin our tour.

  Distillery Manager, Willie Cochrane took us into the mash house and the still room, and whilst sharing some of his extensive knowledge of whisky making, gave us a large dram of the delicious Prophecy. Prophecy is the dram I was drinking when the Whisky for Girls idea was conceived ~ so it is very dear to my heart! Prophecy is slightly peaty with a fresh green aspect just after the middle.  Jura is always so smooth and velvety. I love it.

 Then we were royally entertained in the warehouse by Willie Tait who talked us through some of the Jura ‘family’ of whiskies.  Richard Patterson talked to us about blending, and we headed off to the filling store for more drams and a plate of venison stew. The only inhospitable thing about Jura is the midges!

 Whisky for Girls got their picture taken with the Jura Boys and a bottle of Prophecy. All in all a very good day! 

 

 Thanks to Konrad Borkowski for photo.

 

 

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May. 30.

FEIS ILE ~ BOWMORE

Bowmore Distillery Open Day ~ The day kicked off for Whisky for Girls with a  food and whisky pairing masterclass with the great Rachel Barrie, Master Blender at Bowmore.

 As I hadn’t had time for breakfast, I was, as in the title of Robin Laing’s song, having ~ Whisky for Breakfast  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivIFaaDNux4&feature=colike 

Rachel and Chefs, David from Rufflets Country House Hotel and Craig Millar @16 West End made us an amazing breakfast.

They took elements of the dram and took the same elements in food form ~ so we had :

Bowmore 12 years, a balanced dram with vanilla and fresh meaty saltiness, which has an underlying layer of something crisscrossing with toastey smokey flavours

and we ate it  with vanilla cream, fresh clam and crispy bacon.

The food really was the manifestation of the dram! How clever I thought. I really like Heston Blumenthall and the way he desconstructs food flavours then remakes dishes.  Rachel and the chefs did this dish and the whisky in a  very similar way.  But the great thing was that, many times I have had clams and bacon and probably had a dram with it too ~ but I really tasted the same flavours and textures in the whisky and then in the food this time, because Rachel and the chefs made me aware of it.

So in the first instance of this class I learned to look at the world and experience food and whisky in a new way ~  Not a bad start to anyones morning!

The class took us through a 15 year old Bowmore, a 17 year old Bowmore ~ the managers favourite, and a wonderful dram from 1985, natural cask strength at 52.3%, which was honey, rich and chocolatey with a smell of old wooden fence posts and some saltiness coming in. This is a sweet, honey like, complex, strong yet light airy open whisky. An absolute delight. This dram was paired with a chocolate sweetie and a sliver of vanilla biscuit sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries.

 I can safely say that it was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had!

Next Whisky for Girls met Margaret and Islay Campbell in the reception centre. Islay used to be the Manager of Bowmore, so it was nice to see him and Margaret still supporting the distillery.

 A wee while later I met up with Whisky Bard Robin Laing and he gave me a taste of his own bottling of pink whisky from somewhere else ~ and again I was draming out the back of a car!

(This is the real festival, where the drams are unexpected and unusual and belong to an individual) ~ experience it where you can…..

We met up with  whisky dogs ~ Meg, Jess and Murdo. Whisky for Girls have seen them at nearly every open day this Feis, so we felt they deserved their picture in the paper ~ so to speak.

 

Next we wandered up to the lounge where everyone was tucking into whisky cocktails, we met the Chief of Staff ~ Ginger Willie himself,  and  four guys who tell it like it is ……………………

 Later, I had a great conversation with @islaybart  and his friend about draming not tasting. Sometimes people get so caught up in analysing the drams they forget to drink them!

That’s where Whisky for Girls come in ………….. we have SLOW DRAM WHISKY TASTING which  reminds people that their whisky is here to be drammed, not dissected!

 Bart and his friend ~ the whisky drammers.

Bowmore Distillery Open Day ~ elegant, quiet (because they sold all their bottles before the open day!) and still going on ~ Islay Pipe Band and Skerryvore are calling……………………………

Slainte!

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May. 29.

FEIS ILE ~ LAPHROAIG

Laphroaig Distillery Open Day ~ just another day in paradise ~ lots of interesting people and a great Festival bottling.

And that much sunshine we are getting fed up with it now (~ only joking; we LOVE it!)  

Columns and columns of people wearing wellies streamed past the Whisky for Girls stand. They followed manager John Campbell as though he were the pied piper of Laphroaig!

 There were walks wearing the wellies, and hunt the bottle in the barley in bare feet…………..

There was a hansome barman and a dresser full of drink

We spotted a handy cupboard to look out for when visiting the peat shed…………….

 Pauline and tiny daughter with glamorous glasses, queued for the Cairdeas Origin 51.2%, the Laphroaig Festival bottle

and we saw the best number plate for a Friends of Laphroaig member ~

Whisky for Girls met a group of friends with their own private supply of drams in the back of their van……………

 Tony and Loes from Amsterdam and Robert and Shona from Glasgow have know each other ‘too long’!  after having met at the festival years ago.  Tony said I could have a dram from his cask as long as I didn’t tell anyone…….as it wasn’t from Laphroaig and he didn’t want John Campbell putting him out………!  

I said of course I wouldn’t (and I haven’t told a soul, I have only written about it on my online festival diary

 

They buy all the festival bottlings, and Tony likes the Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Loes drinks whisky from Laphroaig when she is on Islay ~ but not when she is in Holland.  Robert is a member of glasgow’s Whisky club ~ ‘a dram not a drama’  and Shona doesn’t get a dram at all, being the designated driver.

Islay artist Jane Taylor www.islaywhiskydistilleryprints.co.uk  and Laphroaig Manager John Campbell pose in front of the Whisky for Girls stand, and the festival bottling tastes pale golden, thin, briney, sweet, peaty, with honey and power then oak and is yummy!

      It could hardly have been a better day. Thanks to all at Laphroaig.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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May. 28.

FEIS ILE ~ CAOL ILA

ANOTHER FINE DAY AT THE MEDITERRANEAN   ISLAY WHISKY FESTIVAL!

 A mellow, relaxed, easy day at Caol Ila Distillery Open Day. The ferry sailed down the Sound of Islay on a mirror of blue and  as the band played  in the courtyard, we sat on the balcony with Distillery Manager, Billy Stitchell and tasted 5 Caol Ila drams.

 We sampled the Moch, the 18 year old, 2007 only available at the distillery, the new Festival bottling and the 25 years old ~ not cask strength.

The 25 year old went so well with a mini black cherry chocolate log.

I don’t really like this fashion for whisky with chocolate, but this pairing worked really well.

 Manager Billy wandered about the balcony chatting informally with everyone. Ewald Baron, a seasoned festival attender posed for a picture with Billy and the festival bottle.  Billy told us he chose the festival dram about two months ago. From a range of about 20 casks, he narrowed it down to six, and  from them chose the Festival Dram 2012. Sometimes it is really tight for time waiting for the new bottles to arrive ~ sometimes they are only being delivered on the day! Ewald said that the tasting dram was not generous enough to make a value judgement on the festival bottling. After one sip it was finished and therefor one was unable to add water to assess another aspect of the dram.

After a leisurely time sampling the drams on the balcony we wandered down stairs where  jovial Diageo engineer,  Alasdair Campbell poured us a lovely dram of Caol Ila Distillers Edition. 

 We wandered down the pier, spoke with Justin Ruthven ~ Tyres and looked at his  wooden yacht named Caol Ila.  Justin has written a book about 7 years he and his wife Linda spent in the boat  sailing around the Celtic areas of Europe   http://www.justintyers.co.uk/ 

The time  spent at Caol Ila was leisurely, the views were phenomenal, the drams were delicious.

 All in all a very mellow, sweet, yet, earthy day ~ a bit like the Caol Ila drams themselves!