Easter 2010

Easter Bunnies in Port Charlotte…….

This year we decided to move our annual spring week on Islay from the Feis Ile to the Easter week , We’ve been to the festival for so many years we’d seen it all , bought the t-shirt and read the book ! A break is as good as a rest so it was off to the Isle a few weeks earlier and to a change of accommodation as well , Lorgba cottages in Port Charlotte…….

Sat April 3rd

Once again it was an early start , 4.30am , for the 256 mile drive up to Kennacraig , after Fog in the Tyne Valley and rain the rest of the way we arrived at Dumbarton for our usual fill up (Diesel and Breakfast ! ) . Most of the hill tops still had snow on them and when we reached the summit of “Rest and Be Thankful” the Snow was by the road side . After another stop at Tarbert we headed off in the rain for the ferry port . Once again we were on The Hebridean Isles , interestingly all the foot passengers had to board by the car ramp after the recent accident when the Isle of Arran took out the Passenger Ramp .

After a calm but wet crossing , we headed to Port Charlotte to take up residence in the Lorgba Cottages , Very nice they are too , positioned just as you enter the Village from Bruichladdich , they are furnished to a very high standard , well decorated and have a great view across Loch Indaal……So good i’ve split it in two……

View from Lorgba Cottages 1

(Click on any of the Photos to see the full size version)

View from Lorgba Cottages 2Nice smattering of snow on the hills ! We settled in , lit a coal fire and chilled out for the rest of the night .


Tonights Drams :-

Ardbeg Uigeadail (L9)

Ardbeg 21yo (Committee Release)

Sun April 4th

Woke up to a bright and sunny Easter Sunday , a perfect day for Mel’s Birthday ! For lunch we headed off to The Old Kiln at Ardbeg , which for once was quite quiet , we both went for the Chicken Breasts in a creamy mustard sauce with crushed new potatoes and Sauted Cabbage , superb as usual , i was a bit of a pig and went for a pudding as well ( Pear , Apple and Cinnamon tart) ! After a bit shopping (two Corryvreckan T-shirts and an L10 Uigeadail) and a wander about the distillery (Lovely View across to Kintyre and Antrim ) we were going to go for a bit of a drive but got a text from Willie saying he was at The Islay House Square having a Pie and a Pint so we headed off there unfortunately too late to catch Willie but still in plenty of time to have a Pie and a Pint ! Mel went for the Finlaggan and i went for a special , “Kentucky Kiss” , a stout matured in ex bourbon casks . The only Pies left were “Steak and Ale” but by god they were good , the Steak melted in your mouth .

Once again we headed back to our cottage (would be silly if we didn’t….) to see the evening out and enjoy a few drinks……

Tonights Drams :-

Amrut 46%

Ardbeg Uigeadail (L10)

Mon April 5th

Decided to make this a lazy day as the weather didn’t look too clever , so after breakfast and a bit bumming around we headed off to the Port Charlotte Hotel and a bite to eat for lunch . The Bar was quite busy when we got there so we were ushered into the restaurant for our food (Baked Potatoe for Mel , Soup for myself ) . After finishing our food we returned to the bar , which was a bit emptier than before , and had an afternoon session , myself on the Whisky , Mel on the Pinot Grigio . My notes for the session were……..

Bruichladdich Classic
Year – Age – ABV – 46%
Nose – Classic Laddie nose , green fruit and creamy toffee , but with spirity tones .
Taste – Still quite youthful on the palate , The greenfruits (apples and pears )are still there but the spiritiness overwhelms it.
Finish – Long , creamy toffee but again too much youthful spiritiness .
Comments – Way too young for my palate , which is a shame as the new Laddie spirit has always showed great promise , maybe it just needs a few more years ?
Bruichladdich Organic
Year – 2003 Age – ABV – 46%
Nose – Now that’s a better Laddie , very fresh malted barley and creamy toffee .
Taste – Again big on the Barley really fresh on the palate with a touch of apples.
Finish – Medium and Toffee , quite chewy at the end with Lemon .
Comments – Altogether a better Laddie , better balanced and not as youthful tasting as the classic .
Port Charlotte (Ben Roys bottling)
Year – Age – 6yo ABV –
Nose – Quite smoky at first , Vanilla and a touch of red fruits (?).
Taste – Quite spirity at first then peat and caramel toffee .
Finish – Very long and Spirity .
Comments – Another one that could have done with a few more years in the cask , really shows it’s age on the finish .
Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 01
Year – Age – 10yo ABV –
Nose – Very restrained on the nose , lots of sweetness but not a lot else going on .
Taste – A whole lotta Laphroaig on the palate , very medicinal , iodine , seaweed and seashore .
Finish – Lovely long finish , bags of iodine , very medicinal . Now this is more like a old Laphroaig !
Comments – Tastes like a Laphroaig of old , shame the nose is restrained but i’ve got an unopened one of these at home so i can double check it at some point .
MacArthurs 13yo Caol Ila
Year – Age – 13yo ABV –
Nose – Very peaty , more akin to a south shore malt , Bags of seashore as well .
Taste – A gorgeouus mouthfeel to it , peat , seaweed , a very good Islay .
Finish – Long and peaty , slightly medicinal.
Comments – A wonderful Caol Ila , tasted blind i very much doubt if anyone could say from which Islay distillery it came .

We wandered back to the cottage (not much of a wander to be honest…) to have something to eat and see how the Championship panned out this evening , as it happened , we (Newcastle United) end up being promoted to Premier League before we’d kicked a ball !

Tues April 6th

It was raining when we awoke from our slumber this morning , so we decided to take it easy (again) and drove down to Ardbeg for a light lunch (as we’re dining at An Taigh Osda this evening ) . Picked up my Rollercoaster when we were there and got to catch up with Janey . Also bumped into Ella who was lunching with friends and Lorna who used to work at Laddie . After lunch we stopped at Laphroaig to pick up some of the new batch of Cask Strength .

Todays Purchases

In the Evening i took Mel out for her Birthday Meal To An Taigh Osda , another wonderful meal at Paul and Joans , Mel had the Steamed Langoustines in Orange and Ginger Sauce for starters , i went for the Haggis Balls on a Bed of Clapshot . We both had the Breast of Gressingham Duck , Sauted Potatoes , Red Cabbage with Apple sauce and a jus for our main meal . Osda never lets you down for a meal , even the locals comment on how consistant the quality is and we thoroughly agree !

Wed April 7th

We woke up to a beautiful day on Islay , after a light Brunch we set off for a walk along to Bruichladdich to see our good friend Mary at the distillery . It was a nice way to have our first walk on Islay this year ( yes we’ve been lazier than what we wanted…..) and to have a nice refreshment break in the middle , all the better ! Got to try a few laddies that have been recently released and catch up on the local news .
On the road to Laddie
Geese on Islay
Your Bog Standard Geese !
View of the Paps The evening was spent on the Weekly Whisky Chat .

Drams of the Day :-

Laddie PC8 / Fino Sherry Finish / Current Valinch / The Last Octomore / 17yo Rum Finish

Ardbeg Oogie (L9 / L10) / 21yo / 1976 Cask 2390 / Ar2 , PC4 R23 .

Thurs April 8th

Today was an early start , we’d booked on the Lagavulin Warehouse and decided to use the bus to get there , unfortunately it was chucking it down with rain when we set off , it looked like we were going to get wet walking from Port Ellen to Lagavulin . Normally we’re not on the bus route at Bunnahabhain so it was nice to view the Island from the comfort of a bus seat . Luckily when we set off on our walk from Port Ellen the rain had stopped , when we reached Laphroaig a friendly lift in the shape of Willies Wife Audrey appeared so we managed to arrive at the distillery in time for the 9.30 Tour . Marjory took us around on the tour before dropping us off in the warehouse For Pinkies Warehouse Demonstration .
Mel in Lagavulin Warehouse
Mel and Pinkie getting SamplesOnce again Pinkie was on top form and kept us entertained and informed during the entire demo and fed us some excellent Cask samples . The full list of drams on offer was a try of New Make , a 2000 10yo Barrel, A mystery cask (you’ll have to go to find out what !) , a 1993 17yo from a butt , A 1966 (a different cask from last summers) and a dram of the current 1993 double matured . Mel actually got to extract the first dram (the 2000) from the Cask and Willies daughter got to do the Mystery cask , i think it was part of Pinkies cunning plan to keep me and Willie away from the Casks ! I’m really glad that Diageo are keeping this experience going as it’s fantastic value for £15 and a damn good way to spend a Thursday Morning .

We walked along to Ardbeg after the Warehouse tour for a spot of lunch ( we were boring and had the delicious Breast of Chicken again ) before getting the bus back to our cottage , stopping off at Bowmore to pick up a bit shopping , have a look in the Distillery VC and have a natter with Janice in the tourist board centre . A quiet night was spent in the cottage……(who said sobbering up from the Lagavulin visit ?)

Drams of the day :-

All of the Laga Drams !

Fri April 9th

Another Glorious morning when we awoke , after a light Breakfast we headed off to Ardbeg for Lunch (again !) , another lovely meal in the Old Kiln . After a natter with Jackie we headed off to Bowmore to pick up a couple of Bottles at the distillery , Not Islay Whisky but Japanese whisky ! One Bottle of Yamazaki 12yo and one bottle of Hakushu 12yo . Then it was time for our traditional drive along the Mulindry Road to see the Pigs (Mel loves seeing them ) . On the way back to Port Charlotte we stopped at Laddie to say farewell to Mary and Ella and got a brief hello from the Sainted James , who’s first question was “Where’s your Daughter ?” What a smooth talking……..

So we packed our stuff up ready for the next morning , had a bite to eat then headed off to the Port Charlotte Hotel for an evening of drinking and to meet up with John Lee and his wife . It’s always nice to see one of the Wednesday Night Chatters in the Flesh . Also had a good chat to Graham the manager about his recent Stag party Visit (not his stag night i hasten to add….) to our home City . All in all a great way to spend your last night on Islay……
2 Japanese Malts

Sat April 10th

An Early start to pack the car and get to Port Ellen for the 9.45am ferry , as usual it was really really nice weather when we were leaving ! After another Islay Holiday Tradition , Sausage Sandwiches on the return Ferry , we spent the trip on the top deck sunning our selves and thinking of our return to the Isle in August…….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s