Some Samples……

Every now and again a kindly soul gives me some samples to try , this time they are courtesy of Mr Bobby Banford Esquire (can someone from East Kilbride be an Esquire ?)……..

WhiskyBroker 27yo Auchentoshan

From Bourbon Barrel 4474 , bottled at 53.9% , 209 bottles

11/12/84 – 16/11/12

Quite sweet on the nose (opal fruits) , oaky spices , quite pleasant on the whole . Very smooth across the palate , again sweet and oaky spices , the finish is medium to long and spicy . I was pleasantly surprised by this Auchentoshan , i’ve never been a fan of this lowlander , a very nice dram .

WhiskyBroker 28yo Tormore

From Bourbon Barrel 3674 , Bottled at 54% , 184 Bottles

24/2/84 – 16/12/12

Quite a restrained nose at first but then the oak spices explode , very fruity with Confectioners sugar , seems quite malty as well . Very unusual on the palate , again sweet with a strong maltiness , The finish is very long and strong , almost takes your breath away , very warming with sweet fruitiness . The only Tormores i ever tried were SMWS ones and i was very impressed with them , i’m well and truly impressed with this one , wonderful !

WhiskyBroker 17yo Caperdonich

From Bourbon Hogshead 95068 , Bottled at 55% , 30 Bottles

13/5/95 – 13/2/13

Initially very synthetic on the nose ( acetate / nail varnish remover) then strong vanilla and spices , it gets very pleasant after standing for a while . The palate is very spicy and hot , certainly warms the mouth up ! There is a touch of exotic fruit in amongst the spiciness , the finish is long and warming with opal fruitiness . A very good dram , could go a bottle of this…….

Croftengea 8yo (unknown bottler)

Sherry Finished Hogshead #283 , Bottled at 45% , 380 Bottles

Jan 1996 – Sept 2005

Very dark in colour , on the nose Struck matches , plastic buckets and acetate  , Oh dear…… left it for a little while and it’s still as bad . Almost frightened to taste it , luckily , at first , it doesn’t taste as bad as it smells , but then the sulphur overtakes the sherry . In one word Awful ! I’ve had a few Croftengeas from the SMWS (bought Casks 1 to 4 !) and they were all drinkable , this isn’t…….

Douglas Laing OMC 16yo Ardbeg

Rum Finished , 50%

1991 – 2007

Typical 1990’s Beg nose ,  big peat then the sweet lemon creamy coffee , nothing of the rum so far . On the palate again there’s the big Beg peat but there seems a strong sweetness to it , the rum influence ? There’s also the lemony creaminess across the mouth , the finish isn’t as long as i’d hoped but qute pleasant , very lemony . Not a bad Beg but one does wonder why rum finished……..

Thanks again to Roberto for the Samples !

Winter 2013 Visit

Just a short visit this time , a long weekend but every visit to Islay is worth it !

Thursday 28th February

Another early start to the day , very frosty and foggy on the way up to Glasgow but by the time we hit Lomond it was lovely and sunny , Just before getting to Kennacraig we had our customary stop at Tarbert for tea and cakes……

Tarbert(Took with a Blackberry Z10 and un-instagrammed !)

Melanie in tarbertThe Ferry across this time would be the Hebridean Isles as The Finlaggan was away on Winter Maintenance duty .

Hebridean IslesOnce on Islay we made our way to our residence this trip , the Bowmore Distillery Garden Cottage . After settling down and freshening up we made our way to The Lochside  to get a bite to eat and see the night out with a dram or two , unfortunately no Islay Ales tonight as they’d run and were waiting for new stock.

Friday 1st March

A new day , a new month ! A Beautiful morning , we went off down to Ardbeg leaving the car behind and getting the bus down (£4.70 return for those that are interested) . As it turned out this first time on an Islay visit we only used the car to get from the Ferry to the Accomodation then back to the ferry ! Bus and walked the rest of the time . It was good to catch up with everyone at Ardbeg , even though it was briefly with Jackie , after having a natter with Mickey and Emma we had lunch , the Cullen Skink was wonderful ! I won’t bother mentioning about the Ardbog as it’s been covered elsewhere on the web…… After lunch Margaret gave us a look around Ardbegs latest project , a holiday let ! You too could stay on the distillery site , it’s a beautifully furnished house (next to the managers ) , downstairs consists of 3 Bedrooms ( all ensuite , 2 doubles , 1 twin) and a rather posh bathroom . Upstairs there’s a combined Kitchen / Dining room with log burner and underfloor heating with a balcony with views across to Kintyre and Antrim , i’ll not say the price but it’s not your normal run of the mill holiday let……. details soon on the website…….

So it was back to Bowmore to freshen up and a look at the Japanese Garden we had access to from the cottage .

The Japanese Garden

The View down the garden (our cottage is the one with the patio doors)

Melanie at the Loch end of the Garden

Melanie at the Loch end of the Garden

Melanie on a stroll.....

Melanie on a stroll…..

Once again we headed out to the Lochside for a bite to eat and some refreshment…… The Islay Ales were back on ! A pint of Finlaggan if you please ! We finished off the night in the Schooner Bar of the Harbour Inn . Actually got to try the 2010 Feis Ile Caol Ila tonight , a cracking dram , wish i had a bottle…….

Saturday 2nd March

Quite an early start for a holiday , first up we were on the 10am tour of the Bowmore Distillery (in with the Cottage rental) , a very good tour by Heather , we also got to see Phil Gray working (some say a rarity……but i wouldn’t……) and became very popular with the tour , due to our presence ( i.e. cottage occupents ) the usual end of tour dram was changed from a 12yo to the 15yo Darkest as we get a bottle of it included in our let….. Lots of Woo-hoos all round ! So after making a few purchases in the Visitors Centre shop , great staff now btw after our experiences of a few years ago , we headed back to the cottage to change and go and meet Ella for Lunch at the Bowmore Hotel…….

The Bowmore Hotel was a place we hadn’t frequented a lot in the past (once in how many ever visits) and we got a bit of a shock this time when we went in , it’s been done out ! And very nicely too ! It was great to catch up with Ella , she’s doing really well after her recent hip replacement . The food was very tasty and flavoursome and it was good to see proper homemade chips ! After saying farewell we went off for a shop in Bowmore , some more supplies and bits and bobs purchased before heading back to the Cottage to get ready for the evenings fun and games .

Melanie ready to hit the Town !

Melanie ready to hit the Town !

We had a bite to eat in the Chinese Restaurant before heading off Back to The Lochside to watch Phil work , Twice in one day ! This’ll not do his reputation any good…… It was good to catch up with him and see him in action behind the bar , It turned out to be a really good night , Lots of Swedes (the people not the vegetables….. )in , had a good chat with Michael and  mob , and the patter was flying from behind the bar , we both said it ‘s the first time when we’ve been in the Lochside in recent years that it reminded us of when we stayed there under Alistair and Ann . After much 15yo darkest (i’ve took a shine to it….) we thought we best retire back to the Cottage as we had the morning ferry to get . Cheers Phil and Michaels Mob for the great night !

Sunday 3rd March

So it was off to Port Ellen for the 9.45am ferry , a lovely morning to end our flying visit . A Calmac Breakfast was on the menu to see us off on journey home , we didn’t really do a lot this visit ( apart from eat and drink by the look of it !) but it was a nice relaxing time without doing any walking or chasing photographs . Till the next time…….

For those that are intrested this is what the cottage looked like inside……..

The Sitting Room

The Sitting Room

The Main Bedroom

The Main Bedroom (there is another twin Bedroom)

The Kitchen

The Kitchen from the Patio Doors

The Kitchen

The Kitchen looking towards the pation doors

Details of the Cottages can be found at