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.


Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Feb. 08.


Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) are very pleased to be heading to Alkmaar in Holland this week to host 3 Masterclasses at the Hielander Whisky Festival.

Wullie Macmorland, the festival organiser decided to create a specific ‘Girls in Whisky’ focus.

RachelMcNeillGINNYISOBELSo, myself, Isobel Gardiner and Ginny Boswell ~ three ‘red heads’ are offering our festival guests some of the best #Scotch Whisky over the course of nine tastings. 

Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) are hosting 3 distinct tastings ~ each one has a different focus ~

‘Peat, Smoke and Both’  will debate the question, can we differentiate between the two?

‘The Independents’ Tasting will showcase whiskies and new make from some of Scotland’s newest distilleries ~ so new, infact, maybe some will not even know they exist!

And last, but certainly not least, ‘Dram Architecture’ Tasting, where we will look at different constructions of drams by comparing and contrasting styles and makeup.

Exciting stuff!

But, most of all it is going to be great to meet old friends, and make new ones ~ already I have an invitation to ‘Pea Soup Lunch’….! 


I would like to thank


The Gaelic Whiskies

KILCHOMAN Distillery

ARRAN Distillery

The GLASGOW Distillery

R & B Distillers & Alasdair Day

Scotch Malt Whisky Society & John McCheyne

for their unstinting support.


See you in Holland

Band of Gold (1024x681) (640x426)

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Apr. 01.

Whisky Theme Art Exhibition @ Feis Ile

Whisky Festival Art Exhibition in 

Gaelic College

Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle (the Columba Centre Islay)

Whisky for Girls (& guys!) are  hosting a  whisky themed art exhibition for the duration of the Islay Whisky Festival. The exhibition runs from Saturday 18 May to Saturday 8 June.

Entrance to the exhibition is free and the exhibition is open when the Gaelic College is open. The Ionad Chaluim Chille Ile, the Gaelic College, is just outside Bowmore on the road to Bridgend. Drive up the hill past the power station and the Gaelic College is the lovely building on the left over looking Loch Indaal.

We are lucky to bring you the work from amazing painters, photographers & glass workers.

We have the unusual work of Ernie Button who hails from Phoenix, Arizona

I asked Ernie to tell us some things about himself and his work ~

1) How did you get into this line of work ~ I don’t mean the dishwasher thing, I mean in the beginning. Were you arty in school?

I’ve been a creative person my whole life. Even with a full-time job I always find time to be creative. I got into music during my high school years which quickly transitioned into writing. I’ve always taken pictures but didn’t start pursuing a fine-art career in photography until I was out of graduate school in the mid to late 1990’s. My wife is a fine-art painter and a teacher so it helps to have someone to share the joys of the creative process with.

2) Are there drams that lend themselves better to this type of photography/art?

I have found that the Speyside Scotches tend to produce these lines more consistently. Other Scotches still produce these lines, just not with every glass. (Keep in mind, this is not a judgment against any whisky, it’s purely an observation from an art making perspective. It says nothing about a person’s favorite whisky and the tastes that a person prefers. I have found that people become very defensive about their favorite Scotch / Whisky ).

3) How do you colour them?

Once the glass is dry I tilt it on it’s side and use a variety of lights, flashlights and colored gels to ‘enhance’ the lines attempting to bring them to life.

4) Do you have a favourite?

Often times, it is the next one that I make.

Any other snippet of information that may be of interest to your public!

Dr. Howard A. Stone, Ph.D, currently at Princeton University works in fluid mechanics. I have been corresponding with him for the past several months about what causes these rings. He was able to explain some of the basic mechanics of how fluids dry for me. However, he is continuing to investigate if there are any unique properties in Scotch Whisky that contribute to the way in which they dry. Science and art; both very fascinating to me.


We are also lucky to have the lovely Islay influenced work of Dietmar Finger from Germany

Dietmar Finger


Dietmar told us some things about himself and the inspirations for his work 

1) Yes I was arty at school. When I studied Design I even gave sketch and render classes to my classmates.
I am drawing since I can remember.
2) 2000 I was on Islay for the first time. Since then I am coming back constantly.
One main reason was and still is our lovely landlady Moira Leitch, but also so many other friends I have made since.
In 2011 I did spend 6 weeks in a cottage at Laggan Bay to let my body catch my soul and to finish a childrens book.
3) I am inspired by colors mainly, I guess. In the end this is what we see. Light and colors. This I want to capture in a painting.
Ideally there is also some drama involved. Then there is perspective and composition.
4) Currently I love to work in watercolor. This works great to a certain size.
Bigger paintings, like the cars I do (see )   I prefer to do in Acryl.
Whatever medium I use I hope I will find  a looser style soon.
5) I got into whisky when I toured Scotland in 1992. We stayed in the wonderful “Pannanich Wells” hotel in Ballater. The owner served me this awesome whisky. The first whisky after being incredibly sick from whisky about 12 years earlier ( my 1st bad experience with alcohol).
This whisky “healed” me.
When Bruichladdich re-opened in 2001 (on my very birthday!!) I ordered a little Blood Tub, which my son and me bottled in 2008.
These bottles are a treasure in our cellar…! 
We also have a great Islay artist, none other than  the inimitable Jane Taylor herself!
Jane Taylor
I asked Jane a few questions about her work, whisky influence and  whisky drinking! ~
1. Ive been interested in ‘art’ since I was a child.

2. Got into dramming living on Islay -so much choice!

But I’m intrigued/amazed by the fact that islay has not one but 8 brilliant distilleries -what an Island!

3. Images are chosen when thinking about what works in the composition for the design

4. The most exciting thing about my work is that moment when an idea for a painting is decided on and drawn out ready to start.

5. A dram will be taken after, but seeing as you’ve suggested ‘during’ I might give it a whirl!!


We are also very pleased to showcase the great photography of Konrad Borkowski   who lives on the Isle of Jura

Konrad-5916 (2)

 1) When did you first become interested in photography ?
1) properly in 1999, but thought about it at primary school.
2) What attracts you to shoot a particular image?
2) it can be a lot of things, it depends on what and for whom I’m shooting: it could be the uniqueness of the moment or the subject, its character, the quality of light, but also the inexplicable, the juxtaposition in the scene – an individual sense of beauty.
3) When did you come to live in Jura ~ what attracted you there?
3) 2005 – you could pretty much use the above answers to that question, add unspoilt wilderness.
4) Do you have a favourite image?
4) I have two:
a) Islay – Ardbeg  snow covered whisky barrels
b) Worldwide – ‘Dream Catcher’ – the fisherman on the Mekong River in Laos- both unique and difficult to repeat.
Ardbeg Whisky Barrels
Dream Catcher
 5) What attracts you to whisky?
5) unique taste, the fiery character, the fact that it does not give me a hangover, the stronger and peatier the better – love cask strength.
We also hope to bring you the amazing glass work of Heather Scott, an Islay girl from Ardbeg who now lives in Edingurgh ~
and the interesting and unusual  photography  of Bowmore Distillery Stillman, Philip Gray ~
Everyone is invited to the Whisky for Girls (& guys) Art Exhibition for the Feis Ile in the Gaelic College.
All works are for sale and commissions will be taken if the work you like are  sold before you make it to the exhibition.
We look forward to seeing you ~



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

Islay Drams Avert War……


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”.


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

Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Jan. 29.


As part of a very exciting on going project, Whisky for Girls  are going  to work with  NoéMie Schwaller and We leave Islay on 7 February 2013 ~ and return….. who knows when!

DASH Magazine is the London-based illustrated magazine on fashion and fashion art. Published biannually and distributed worldwide, DASH is aimed at opinion formers of all genders with an interest in fashion and art-related fields. It is its strong focus on fashion illustration – a previously underappreciated art form currently celebrating a vivid comeback – which makes the magazine one of a kind. Visually unique and with in-depth editorial content, DASH Magazine provides seasonal coverage as well as a launch platform for emerging talent from the fields of illustration, photography, the arts and journalism to showcase, and thus gain exposure, for their work.

Whisky for Girls are going to Londonshire where they will teach us about magazines and fashion and fashion art and we will teach them about whisky

(~ fair exchange, no robbery)

As part of this adventure Whisky for Girls are being sponsored by  Morrison Bowmore Distillers. Over the next few days we will be learning more about the drams from Bowmore. We are going on a Craftsman’s Tour with expert tour guide Linda Gray, and Manager Eddie MacAffer will teach us about the distillery and the way Bowmore make their drams, and how the distillery has changed over the years.

After leaving Islay, Whisky for Girls will head to Glasgow where Manger Ali MacDonald will show me around Auchentoshan Distillery and teach me more about the triple distilled drams they produce there.

I will have a case full of whisky and a head full of knowledge when I reach DASH mag offices to start at 9 am sharp on Monday 11 Feb. Their offices are in Hackney, a trendy up and coming area of London. I am staying with a girl from Colonsay whose Dad is a bee keeper     ~ Whisky, Honey, Fashion ~ it just keeps getting better……!

There will be regular updates about this Whisky for Girls adventure ~ starting with our visit to Bowmore Distillery, tomorrow.




Featured Image
Nov. 09.

WHISKY DRINKERS APPAREL ~ from Wild & Magic Islay

What to wear when you are sipping your delectable, not to mention delicious, malt whisky?

(or when you are taking tea and mince pies & scones?)

Wild and Magic Islay offer a range of

100% organic cotton T shirts

for the sexy whisky drinking Lady or Gent.


The writing says WILD AND MAGIC ISLAY in gold foil ~ and they look lovely!!


Ladies short sleeve fitted T ~  in BLACK, WHITE, NAVY. Cost £18

Size M L XL     (L = UK 12)

Ladies long sleeve T ~ in BLACK, WHITE.   Cost £30  with either writing down sleeve or across chest

Size M L XL       (L = UK 12)


Gents Vintage Wash T ~ in Green, Navy. Cost £18

Size S M L XL

P & P is £4.95 per T, but if you want to buy lots we can sort it out!

TO BUY ~ email

I will send you a secure paypal link for payment then post your items off.


Santa would love to see you in a Whisky Drinking Wild and Magic Islay    T shirt ~ or drinking whisky in a Wild and Magic Islay T shirt!


Who can tell me which distillery reception centre hosted the photo shoot…….?

First order with correct answer will win a short sleeved T shirt 

TO BUY ~  email 

or phone 01496 810 940 / mob: 077 60240437

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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……………………………



 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!  : )


 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.




 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.( 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 



 MISS WHISKY                   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.





 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.




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!



 Photo ~ imageRevolver


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!





















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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. 

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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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Jul. 02.

Arran Distillery Open Day 2012

Arran Distillery Open Day ~ Saturday 30 June 2012

As we came down the hill into Lochranza we saw the pagodas of Arran Distillery nestled behind the trees.

Many people were arriving from all over. Whisky for Girls had travelled from Islay to Arran for the open day. We had a great time!

Lovely drams, great people, music, collectors……………to name a few.

Charlie Hunter a retired cooper who previously worked in Beith and Dumbarton,  gave a ‘rising a cask’ demonstration for Whisky for Girls.   It was really interesting.

He told us that when coopering,  you are on piece work. That means you are paid for the barrels you make. It takes about 2 and 3/4 hours to make a cask. You have to saw the staves level if they are not just right, you have to ensure the rings are tight. It is a lot of work.  In 1980 you were paid approx £3 per barrel. You could earn £150 per week in those days.  Coopers work hard. They run everywhere ~ they said if you weren’t sweating within 10 minutes of starting work you weren’t working!

Whisky for Girls then attended a masterclass with Lucie Stroesser, Arran Distillers new brand ambassador in Europe. We sampled 5 different whiskies and the Arran Gold.


The drams were:

Robert Burns Malt 40%  ~A 5 year old dram. Light, fresh, woody. This dram is chill filtered. Sweet, cereal and appley, thin pale colour.

Arran 10 years old 46% ~ A mix of Bourbon and Sherry cask maturation. Less of the sherry maybe 60 -40, bourbon to sherry. This has a rounder nose than the Robert Burns. Light, smooth, with a spicey wee kick. A wee bit drier, a hint of burnt sugar, floral notes.

Arran 14 years old 46%  ~ Another mix of sherry and bourbon cask maturation. The sherry influence is stronger. A sweet refined dram ~ parma violets, sweet, perfume nose. Underlying nose of mustiness, reminds me of mushrooms and Daill Farm in Islay! Lots of floral notes.

The Westie 46% ~ 12 years old, sherry cask maturation. Yellowey, sweet custard. Non chill filtered. Mix of 1st and 2nd fill sherry cask. Light on the top, fluffy in the middle, coconut and buttery notes. A very soft dram ~ so soft it could be whiskey!

Sauternes Cask Finish 50% ~ Very dry mouthfeel from the Sauternes cask, but a smooth dram. A dusty, mushroomy nose. With water opens up a bit. There are also an Amarone cask finish and a Port finish in this series.

The Arrran Gold Creme Liqueur with Arran Chocolates ~ deliciously rich!

After our tasting we met up with distillery manager James MacTaggart.  James brought us one of the festival bottles and posed with Whisky for Girls for a  ‘whisky in the shoe’ picture.

In the whisky tasting masterclass, Whisky for Girls met an interesting couple from Portsmouth.

Peter and Nina are whisky memorabilia collectors. Pete told me it all began 30 years ago when his mother bought him a present of a Beneagles bottle shaped like an eagle.  Pete has visited all the Scotch Malt Whisky Distilleries except 3 ~ and soon he intends to have visited them, too. He told me that his favourite thing in the collection is an old stone whisky bottle from Royal Dalton.  It is shaped like a disc, like a hip flask, and is very old. Pete has also been compiling a Whisky Encyclopedia, to date he has written 6,000 pages! Nina told me they have moved to a bigger house to have room for the ever expanding collection ~  ‘I live in a museum!’ she said.


Robin Laing, whisky’s own bard, serenaded us and made us forget about the drizzle, singing about strong whisky and weak women ~ but only when Whisky for Girls were out of ear shot!

And Arran Distillery played host to numerous families who had come along and brought their pets ~ not least wee Alfie who was visiting with his owner Jill and her Mum. Dad Craig said they needed to come and get a bottle or two for the house, and Mum Rosalind wanted a bottle or two of Arran Gold for herself!


Whisky for Girls met lots of interesting people and enjoyed lots of lovely drams.

Thanks to Manager James MacTaggart, Visitor Centre Manager Faye Black, Margaret Rose Sinclair~Smith, Graham Omand and Hollie MacEachern. Whisky for Girls hope to see you all again next year!

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Jun. 02.


 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.


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