Category Archives:EVENTS

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Nov. 23.

What’s in a Whisky Festival?

There are many different types and syles of whisky festival. If you can’t find one to suit you, then perhaps you should return to drinking milk…

Glasgow Whisky Festival ~ exactly what it says on the tin. More drams than you can shake a stick at. A well run, whisky presenting event. No faff, no falderal. This whisky festival reminds me of the shipyards on the Clyde in days of old. Engineered, good craic, full of wit and camaraderie. Haggis and Neeps to eat, and friends are well looked after.  A good Scottish Festival.

We have the glamour of Paris Live… HUGE number of stands, big names, expensive whisky tastings. A lot of glitz and glamour –  fur coat and no knickers….? the people who ran the stands were complaining they were packed in too tighty…. all for style, never for comfort. Lots of World drams and glamour. A place to see and be seen.

Then, we have Maltstock & Dramboree ~ whisky hippy dreams. Fires, Birkenstocks, sharing bedrooms, and swimming with whisky!   Do you need to be young or have a beard for these? A celebration of friendship and whisky. The whole weekend is a session.

Next we have Independent European Festivals – mostly Dutch, German and now, Austrian.   A celebration of Scotch and Scottish culture. I love how people are playing the pipes (sometimes with more luck than judgement..) are singing Scottish songs, have kilts on, and there is tartan and shortbread all over the place. And lots of obscure Independent bottlings. This is good. These people are way ahead in whisky repertoire.  Big commercial festivals can be rather generic in relation to drams..

Then, we have the Speyside Whisky Festival. So overwhelming because everything is so far apart. But, if one has a driver who knows where they are going it is fantastic. Cooperages are opened up, Maltings are available to view. This is a mixture of the practical side of whisky and whisky drinking, with big names and glamour thrown in for good measure.

Next up,  we have our very own Feis Ìle.  A celebration of the culture of Islay, which has been hijacked by the distilleries. However, this is good. This grounds people in the distilleries and lets them experience whisky where it is made. A week of  mayhem involving Islay distilleries, whisky and friendships.

Last, but not least we have a newcomer to the festival scene. My very own THEATRE OF DRAMS Whisky Symposium . An Educational Celebration of Whisky.  An alternative, or a complement, to the week of the Feis.  Whisky drinking & whisky heritage. Pick and chose the events you want to attend. Create your learning schedule. 

There is a place for ALL kinds of festivals. We need a variey of events. These are a few to demonstrate diferent STYLES.

There are hundreds of whisky events world wide. 

Seek them out!

Enjoy your #Scotch.

Slàinte!

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May. 31.

Feis Ìle 2016 ~ Islay Festival of Music & Malt

Too much whisky, too many people….. Can’t wait for next year?!

Avarice has created a monster. The infrastructure of Islay is stetched to breaking. 

The week of the feis now turns Islay into Ibiza. It’s a whisky club scene….

More and more outside agencies are jumping on the band wagon. People who profess to be in the industry have no clue about the nature or the history of Feis Ìle. I told one guy that the festival committee was a voluntary organisation. ‘And what do they do?’, he asked!

Yes, we meet friends, yes we have fun… but we do this on other weeks too. 

The Islay roads are falling to bits, we have bin collections every 3 weeks or so. People have to pay for themselves to get to hospital in the mainland ~ by boat!

Once one’s hotel or guesthouse is full for the week, what more money can be made? Once one’s restuarant or cafe has fulfilled it’s quota of covers in a day, how much more money can be made? 

Who actually makes money from Feis Ìle?

Lagavulin Distillery (Diageo) brought in £750,000 on their festival bottle ALONE.

Even if the festival was not on, visitors would still come. So, the beds would be filled, the tables would be sat at…..

I like when people buy festival bottles and put them on German ebay ~ why should Josephine Blogs not make a bob or two on her festival bottle? Why should all the money go to big companies?

Yes, I know people can argue about the money the craft people, the taxi drivers, etc etc. make during the week. I know all these things…. it’s just once anything becomes so commercialised it becomes dehumanised and out of control.

The Festival Committee host events to maintain the Islay hospitality and intrinsic nature of the week. There are so many external events, that we are now seeing a division as at the Edinburgh Festival … where the Feis fringe is overtaking the Feis itself: which would be fine, if we were not an island with a limited physicality ~ and it’s not all meant to be about money.

One lady in Bowmore was sitting having her lunch in her garden, when flying over the wall, came dog waste thrown by two people in a camper van parked outside her gate for days!!!

Where do we go from here…?

Maybe the Feis will be like Daisy World. Once it reaches absolute saturation (this year?) it will collapse and rebuild itself in another way.

Maybe we should discuss having TWO Feis weeks. One in May and one in October, say?

I am not in favour of having a two week long Feis. It is fine for those who come and go, and whilst on Islay are on holiday. It would probably be too much for the Ilich (the Islay people) to cope with. But this is obviously open for discussion. 

Anyway…. even with all the above,

I love seeing everyone, I love Feis Ile, I love whisky & music

and, everybody is somebody’s friend,

Slàinte Mhath!

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Nov. 24.

The week that was… WHISKY COURSE ISLAY Pt II

Wednesday afternoon, saw us leaving Kilchoman Distillery and heading to Port Ellen for the SECOND whisky tasting of the day ~ an exclusive Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting hosted by John McCheyne.  Our guest for the evening was Florence Grey, chair person of the voluntary commitee who organise Feis Ile ~Islay Whisky Festival.

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Thursday saw us learning chemistry of maturation in the morning. And a practical focus on Wood, Warehousing & Maturation took us on a tour of Bowmore Distillery, where we joined some delegates drawing samples from their own casks in Warehouse 5. Later, in the malt barns and kilns the artistic among us created barley angels, whilst the diligent practised turning green malt…..

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Thursday evening brought the eagerly anticipated Whisky & Scottish Cuisine Dinner/Ceilidh. 

Two local cooks created a beautiful meal for us,  held in the largest kitchen of all the houses. Hunter Laing, R & B Distillers & R.D. Rattray sponsored the meal by sending us lovely bottles to enjoy. Also gifted were bottles from OWL Distillery, Mackmyra Distillery and various others. Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) provided a rather delicious port finish Kilchoman.

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I really enjoyed the meal as it was very informal and relaxed,  just like an old time ceilidh. Over the course of the leisurely meal, everyone stood up when inspired to do so and made a spontaneous toast ~ it could be as heartfelt or ridiculous as one wished….. and they were!

 After coffee, when everyone thought they could just chill…. in an heartfelt outburst of ‘bon homie’, I generously took it upon myself to teach the assembled company that Islay anthem… The Lights of Loch Indaal…. 

“if you learned ONE thing this week……..”

 … I remember a story about Sammy’s nails, or was it snails?? Lots of laughter, repeated playing of the ‘Vatersay Boys’  and the concerted tasting of ALL whiskies on the table……

Anyway… moving swiftly on to Friday with Marketing, Branding & Customer Loyalty. We were extravagantly hosted by Jackie at Ardbeg Distillery.  There were oysters in Seaview, a range of drams in the warehouse, a dram from 1976 in the old malt barns, ice cream in the still house, tea and cakes in the cafe and to top it all:  

SMOKING Ardbeg10 YO  in the chairperson’s study….

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   We awarded

WHISKY COURSE ISLAY 15 Certificates 

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In the Welcome Pack it said ~ 

“WHISKY COURSE ISLAY 2015 wishes to be an educational break from the corporate norm…..

I hope you will learn a lot; and make friends, rather than contacts, during your time in Islay”

I believe WHISKY COURSE ISLAY 15 fulfilled these hopes.

Slàinte!

Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Nov. 23.

The week that was WHISKY COURSE ISLAY…. Pt I

What a full on, fun filled, fact saturated, whisky flowing, friend making week.

WHISKY COURSE ISLAY from 26 – 30 October 2015 inclusive, brought people from all corners of this round earth to Wild and Magic Islay. We had 15 delegates, most of whom turned out to be industry professionals. I presumed mainly ‘whisky connoisseur/hobbyists’ would attend, and happily, they did; and, it was heartening to be so well supported by the industry. We had distillery owners and managers, maltsters, marketing people, bar school teachers, independent bottlers, engineers, brand ambassadors……   good fun, clever, whisky drinking  people!

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We had 5 full on days. Learning from Professor Paul Huges in the morning, then backing up the theory with practical application at various Islay Distilleries in the afternoons. At Laphroaig Distillery moss, Dugie MacTaggart introduced everyone to peat cutting.

And, heroically maintained a straight face when asked such searching questions as; ‘what do you call your tool, Willie?’ …… !!!

                                          

John Campbell took us to places in Laphroaig no one normally goes…. We learned about malting in fine detail. We learned specifics of the job. Thinking about what side of the malt floor faces the sea ~ so barley germinates slower than on the slightly warmer road side. We thought about the malt around the base of the building pillars, we thought about the barley at the bottom of the steep tanks not being aerated as the aeration ring is set up by around 12″ from the opening. We learned……!

Laphroaig Steep tank

 So much to learn, so little space left in the head after all the theory of the morning sessions with Prof Paul…

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Tuesday found us at Bruichladdich Distillery being well looked after by Alan Logan. What he didn’t teach these WHISKY COURSE ISLAY delegates about milling and mashing is not worth knowing! We saw the inner workings of the victorian, Heath Robinson style, yet, greatly efficient, mill.

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We learned about the open topped cast iron mash tun ~ 4 waters due to so much evaporation… and Alan risked life and limb in the warehouse to bring us some lovely whisky right out the casks….

We only managed to lose two delegates at Bruichladdich ~ one is very likely still there, as evidenced by this ID picture being circulated by an old respected Independent Bottlers…..

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the other was found red faced and sparkly eyed at the vatting sink, after being led astray by Master Blender,  Adam Hannett……

Moving swiftly on to day 3. A wonderfully educational, yet totally relaxed day at Kilchoman Distillery. We spent SO long in the still house learning the machinations of small scale whisky production with Robin & Russell, that Kathy began to think we were staying the night…..

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Eva hosted a great Kilchoman Tasting, then, we manoeuvered everyone onto buses heading off for ANOTHER whisky tasting….. 

but that’s a story for Part II…..

Slàinte!

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Jun. 03.

FEIS ILE 2015

Feis Ile agus Dhiura 2015 ~the busiest we have seen yet!  We had extra open days & nights and millions of events ~ 

Friday ~ SMWS Open Day at Islay House ~ with two new Festival bottles……. one from SMWS and one from Islay House 

SMWS Feis Ile 2015

 And the first time meeting a great gang of Whisky Girls from all over the world!

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 Next up, Saturday ~ Lagavulin Day

With the Festival bottle put up on German ebay as soon as money changed hands in Islay ~ and the bottle sold out by Tuesday……..  German ebay ~ the life of high finance on Islay….

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Well, Sunday is just mental ~ It’s Bruichladdich Day!

‘The Boss’ hosts his last Master Class for 500 people (but, let’s hope we see him guest hosting tastings in the future…) ~ and some of the Whisky Girls Gang get our photo taken with him

Bruichladdich McEwanMonday is Caol Ila Day ~ weather is not that great, some people take great photos though, and plenty of great whisky is drunk…..

Festival 2015 0Tuesday is Laphroaig Day ~ weather doubtful ~ 200 Anniversary Birthday cake? splendid ~ secret still in the woods? ~ even MORE splendid!

And at night we had a great #whiskyfabric gathering with more bottles and people than you could shake a stick at…

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Wednesday was Bowmore Day ~ and the rain poured from the Heavens ~ but, then so did the whisky! So, I don’t think people minded too much…. 

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and Lucci at Bowmore Hotel stocked up on his festival bottles for us all….

2015 Festival Bottles

Thursday is Kilchoman & Jura Day ~ Kilchoman celebrated their 10 Year Anniversary ~ their first spirit came through on 14 December 2005, but the Visitor Centre was open earlier in that year. Richard Paterson represented Jura well ~ as he always does; with his wit and his cigars and his lovely drams….

Festival 2015 6Festival 2015 18Festival 2015 2Friday is Bunnahabhain Day ~ lovely drams, great music, good craic…..

I arrive just as Islay Bart was leaving…. I told him it was nothing personal…..!

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Saturday was Ardbeg Day ~ 200 Anniversary ~ lots going on ~ lovely drams, Arbroath Smokies, people from the future, ice bars, tract Tours and drams from probably the most expensive bottle of the Feis ~ 1815 Ardbeg, a snip at £3,000 ~ Bill only bought two…. and Bino only bought three….!! 

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Slàinte!

Thank you to everyone I met who made the week so fantastic. Great new friends and great old friends. We will see you again next year ~ if not before.

And until we meet again ~ 

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Thank you to anyone whose photos are here.  I couldn’t find exactly who took which pic, so please accept my inclusive thanks if you recognise your own.

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Nov. 01.

First Whisky & Rum Festival in Graz, Austria

Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) island whisky tasting ~ 

On Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 October 2013, Graz city in Austria was host to the first Whisky & Rum Festival. Presented by Dr. Bottle Scaria with assistance from The Islay Whisky Chapter Austria and various esteemed organisations.

Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) were invited to host a Whisky Tasting of Islay/island malts. Ostensibly the event was for women, but  guys were welcome, too!

How cool is this!!Getting ready to DRAM with Whisky for Girls (& Guys!0Islay Whisky Chapter & WfG

We had a selection of 6 drams ~

In order of tasting ~

KILCHOMAN 100 % ISLAY 3 rd edition ~ 50% abv. Vatting of 4 & 5 yo, 20-25 ppm, light, citrus with long peaty finish. Matured in Bourbon barrels. Fresh, young, strong, well balanced open dram. Peat finish carries the freshness.

Thanks to Arran Distillery for the ARRAN 10 yo ~ 46% abv, unpeated, citrus notes ~ orange, cinnamon, peppery sparkle. The water for the distillery comes through red granite.  This is a smooth, fluffy mouthfeel with light, sparkly kick.  Nice orange oiliness and a dryness give this dram a balance with the lightness.

BUNNAHABHAIN 18 yo ~ 46.3% abv, A voluptuous dram.  Rich, silky, sweet honied dram. Sweetly nutty, slight salt tang, sherry notes of raisins, then toffee, a bit spicey and dryly woody with a sweet sherry finish. A lovely warm rolling dram.

ARBEG CORRYVRECKAN ~ 57.1% abv. 50 ppm. Rich, heavy, peaty dram ~ tarry notes, bit of chocolate, creosote, brown sugar. Very fruity and rich with the power of the peat and the tar to balance it. Matured in American and French oak casks.  Also, as this dram is cask strength the alcohol level is carried by the power of the flavours. A smokey length with salt and a hint of blueberries coming in from the side. 

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LAPHROAIG 10 yo CASK STRENGTH Batch 005 ~ Thanks to Laphroaig Distillery for giving us this dram to taste ~ 57.2% abv, this lovely, heavy, oily, peaty, fruity, sparkling dram carries the cask strength beautifully. Salty, seaweed with peat and rich warm fruity notes and flavours. A lovely rolling dram of Islay’s shores. A long smokey rich finish.

BOWMORE DARKEST 15 yo ~ 43% abv, the lowest alcohol by volume of the tasting ~ 12 years in Bourbon casks then 3 years in Oloroso sherry casks give this dram a sweet, raisins & chocolate taste balanced by the signature Bowmore smoke. This has a long finish and is a lighter but still robust dram. This is the material equivalent of  patterned velvet to the  brocade of the Laphroaig.

We tasted the drams without water, with water, and then, with chocolate ~ just delicious!

This is the first festival of it’s kind held in Graz. And it was very successful ~ we were even on the Austrian TV news!

There were chocolate makers, kilt makers, whisky makers, cigar makers ~ I liked this festival as it was pro active ~ there were many people here who produce their own product, not just selling something that others had made. Also, there were singers, dancers and pipers ~ 

One of the pipers is a lady called Romana Brunner.

Pipers at Graz

She is the Pipe Major of the Carinthian Pipes & Drums. Romana is a music teacher and in 2009 she travelled to Uist in the Western Isles,  and lived there for a year, being taught to play the pipes by Iain McDonald.  Iain McDonald and his brothers were good friends of the late A.S. Macneill, who helped found the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland ; ~  and A.S. Macneill is my uncle from Oransay ~ how cool is that?

Never mind seven degrees of separation between each of us in the world ~ in the Scottish/Piping/Whisky world it is reduced to TWO degrees of separation between us!

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Thank you to Manfred Wizsy of Islay Whisky Chapter for arranging for Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) to come to Austria. We had a wonderful time, met some wonderful people, heard some wonderful singing & music ~  and drank some wonderful whisky ~ we will return……

SLÁINTE! 

Me and the Austrian Team!

Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) and the Austrian Team

Best sign of the day!

Best sign of the day!

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Hand drawn schematic of whisky making process for guests at Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) tasting…..

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Supporting the new Black Bottle

Haggis on the menu

Haggis on the menu for the festival

Musicians at Graz

The Austrian band who sounded Celtic…

Myself and Mario

Myself and Mario from The Pot Still, and Alexander.

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Aug. 21.

Still Games from Bruichladdich

When Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) saw the new Valinch from Bruichladdich, we knew we had to get a bottle……

Still Games

As usual the Bruichladdich Team are on good witty form with this offering ~

Still Game is a Scottish Television show which is extremely funny ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/tv/chewinthefat/jack_and_victor/still_game/

http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/still_game/episodes/

Jack and Victor, the main characters, are  two Glaswegian pensioners going about their lives and getting into scrapes.

Calling the Valinch Cask  ‘Still Games’ is witty on so many levels ~ McEwan and McGillivray are still game, Still Games are  what is needed to make a whisky…….

Seeing Jim McEwan and Duncan McGillivray in the style of  Jack and Victor gives the locals such a good laugh, because they are both great comedy duos ~

It is heart warming that these two Islay men ~ icons of the whisky world, have the humour and the self confidence to create this joke involving themselves and icons of the comedy world ~ (some may say it is difficult to know which icons are which…..)

On Friday August 16, Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) took ourselves off  to Bruichladdich to fill a bottle of the Still Games golden nectar.

video of cask filling  ~     http://youtu.be/vvbmiJU53Oc

This dram is 10 years matured in a Port Cask and comes in at 62.2% alcohol by volume ~ so plenty dram for your buck!

The Valinch series from Bruichladdich are individual casks from which members of the public can come into the distillery  and hand fill a 500ml bottle.  My bottle is number 131 out of 450 bottles  from the Still Games cask.

This individual bottling is available until the cask is drained,  then a  different one is brought in and set up for hand filling.  These bottlings are exclusive to the distillery and are not available for general release.

This means you must come to Bruichladdich and fill them yourselves!

Amy worked as a tour guide over the summer before heading off to Jordanhill College to do teacher training ~ she got her own Still Game bottle ~ even more exclusive than mine…..

Her bottle has a picture of herself and apprentice blender, Adam Hannett on it ~ and was signed by everyone in the distillery ~

Amy's Still Games BottleAmy's Bottle

 This is a very strong, dryish dram. I bought it on spec because I loved the wit of the name ~ I haven’t even tasted it…..

So, tasting notes are welome!

Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) had a great time, thanks to Raymondo for taking our video and for looking after us so well, and thanks to all at Bruichladdich for your wit ~ greatly appreciated in these days of such troubles in the world.

We look forward to the next Valinch cask, and hope the name and label makes us laugh as much as this one has ~ it is true what they say:

~ wit sells…….!

http://youtu.be/RGY0GNhT3ys

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Jul. 20.

BRUICHLADDICH IS BREAKING HEARTS

Don’t be broken hearted about Bruichladdich.

 

What an amazing job Bruichladdich have done in winning hearts and minds. Their customers feel an intense loyalty and have a huge feeling of ownership. They are like football club fans.

Football clubs change all the time. New players, new managers, new strategies and yet the fans stay with them, stay loyal. The fans are staying loyal to something inside themselves, it is from within themselves the passion is generated. The club is merely the medium which allows this intrinsic feeling expression.

 Bruichladdich Distillery has managed to generate the same love and passion. Indeed, they are like a football team with their very, very tight corporate branding image ~ their team T shirts, and with McEwan as the charismatic club manager.

 

Distilleries are set up to make money. People may have a passion for their chosen way of making money, but if they weren’t going to make money they wouldn’t do it.

Schroder and MacTaggart both invested in Bruichladdich, these are estate owners in Islay. Schroder is Schroders private bank ~ have you ever heard of a banker with passion or sentiment? If Bruichladdich Distillery wasn’t seen as a good money making investment Schroder would never have invested. There is no sentiment or love of Islay  in a bankers investment portfolio!

 Jim McEwan is retiring next year ~ retiring from Bruichladdich that is. McEwan has plans of his own ~ he is on the next stage of his life journey with whisky. He is planning to travel the world with a Spirit Aid show. He will be like a rock star, he will be like ‘The Boss’ but singing the praises of Scotch Whisky.

Mark Reynier’s family are growing up, his children are moving off the island to be educated, his personal life is changing.

These men involved with Bruichladdich are business men. They saw a great opportunity, they showed the world what they could do. They were unusual and quirky ~ yes, because they had to be, they worked with what they could afford. They were innovative ~ yes…. How do we generate an income while we wait for our whisky to mature? Lets make lots of different expressions, let’s do this and do that, so we have a product to sell. (I’ll not tell the joke here in this serious article, about Iain Allan’s dog, and the gate of the distillery, then the creation of a new expression!)

They had to do something to generate an income for themselves. And in doing so they opened up the world of whisky. Never a truer example of ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ than Bruichladdich. No one can wait 10 years for a return on their new project ~ unless one is a nuclear power station perhaps.

 Bruichladdich’s best thing (apart from their drams ~ and McEwan, of course) is their brand image. How clever to make something as tightly branded as say, Coca Cola or Nike, appear so rural and authentic. I’m not saying it is not authentic, but to create such a defined ACCESSIBLE homespun corporate image is very, very clever. Bruichladdich made people fall in love with them. They used the rules of corporate branding to create an image of exactly the opposite. It’s like Ardfin Gardens in Jura  ~ Peter Cool worked very hard to achieve the feeling of a wild, untamed garden. This is far harder to achieve than merely making a tidy, conventional garden.

As Martha Beck says, the future is small, individual, unusual, different things. We all have access to everything now. People are jaded. They want unique, special, crafted things. The business thinkers of the world know this. This is forward thinking, seeing future trends.

We can push into new markets such as Brazil and Africa and sell large amounts of gut rot to poor people, which, shamefully, numerous large spirit producers will. But the future of Scottish Malt Whisky is in small unique brands, and Remy Cointreau have seen this in Bruichladdich. Remy Cointreau do not have a champagne house on their portfolio and I think Bruichladdich can fulfill that unique, quality role for them.  Bruichladdich, or indeed Bruichladdich and a new Port Charlotte combined cannot make much difference to Remy Cointreau’s bottom line. There is not the physical space or transport infrastructure to generate huge amounts of spirit. And if that is what Remy want to do they would have bought a large Coffey stilled plant on the mainland. Islay Whisky is a distinct brand in itself, one has to pay just for access to that now.

Remy are looking to the future. It’s not the customer who has to worry about change of ownership, it’s the workers at the distillery ~ let’s hope Remy will at least pay lip service to the family orientated way this working environment has been run for the last 10 years or so.

Bruichladdich has been an adventure for Mark Reynier, Jim McEwan et al, albeit a heartfelt one, but at the end of the day these guys don’t stand still. They had a business idea, they took it to THEIR chosen level of fruition, and like a football club, or a river, or the concept of royalty, Bruichladdich will flow on, ever changing, ever the same.

If they were romantic, sentimental idealists they would have never managed to turn £6 million into £48 million in 10 years ~ The people at Bruichladdich Distillery truly are alchemists!

 Bruichladdich Is Dead. Long Live Bruichladdich

 

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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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