Lagavulin 8yo 200th Anniversary Edition

It’s been a while since i posted a Tasting Note , mainly because i haven’t had anything new to taste ! I haven’t been buying a lot , make that anything . I’ve been passing on a lot of the recent special releases due to either price ( i’m not prepared to pay stupid prices ) , previous releases being below standard ( The Perprtuum springs to mind….) or Both ! So when a reasonably priced special release comes along i jumped at it……..

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Bottled at 48% , this is a young Lagavulin , 8 years young or as Pinkie used to refer to it  in his warehouse tastings ‘Baby Lagavulin’ , there was always an 8yo on Iains tour , usually sherry cask , but it was usually a front runner on the tasting . This is very light , Very pale straw , lots of lovely legs in the glass . The nose was initally very young but left to open up it soon got peaty and smoky , there is also strong lemon citrus and malted barley . It’s not one of those noses you can sit and linger on , it demands to be drunk !

The palate isn’t overwhelming for it’s youthfulness , it’s quite dry , it’s quite peaty , it also reminds me of a certain lemon throat sweet , there’s a nice peppery spiciness to it . The finish is medium with a pepperyness .

I tried it with a bit water and on the nose it brought the lemon out forward . On the palate it fetched the spices out . This is a pretty good dram , you’ll be more than happy if you are an Islay Peet Heed !

I wanted to try it up against something of a similar age from the distillery and the only thing  i could find was was the Elements of Islay Lg2…..

elements  This is a whole 10% abv higher than the 8yo , The nose is pretty much the same , peaty smoky , lemon , etc etc , the palate packs a much stronger kick but is pretty much the same again . There isn’t much to chose from between the two apart from the extra ABV . Who ever approved this beast of a Laga must have been extremely knowledgable about Islay and it’s malt and must have a very good palate for these things , could also be a pretty good looking chap , intelligent as well……….

Me at Lagavulin

 

The 2015 Feis Ile Bottlings Tasting……

On Friday i attended a tasting of some of the 2015 Feis Ile bottlings hosted by Eddie Ludlow , I must admit i went in with a bit of trepidation having already tasted the “Ardbeg Day” Perpetuum and after having visited it several times growing to dislike it by every tasting…….

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So what did we have ? Here it is Dram by Dram……. 

First up was the Caol Ila , from 1998 this one has been triple matured , first in American Hoggies then in Moscatel wine Casks and finally in Puncheon Casks , 1500 bottles at 57.3% . On the nose i got the Caol Ila Medicinal along with toffee and boat loads of wine . The palate was pretty much the same very sweet wine , the finish was quite long , sweet and malty . Have to say it isn’t one of my favourite Caol Ilas as wine casked malts are not exactly my thing , i much preferred last years offering , as i said in my tasting notes HERE “I prefer it when distilleries do this rather than mess about with fancy casks , back to basics ! ”  

Next was the Ardbeg Perpetuum “Distillery Only” version , this one was bottled at a higher strength , 49.2% , than the Ardbeg Day one . Now according to the Bumf this is supposed to represent the Past , Present and Future of Ardbeg…….. The initial nose was very closed to start with but when something did appear it wasn’t very Ardbeggie , not very peaty but had creamy coffee . The palate was very young , quite feinty with dry peat , all i can say about the finish is it’s long…… Again for something that is supposed to celebrate the 200th Birthday it is very disappointing , i think Ardbeg need to go back to the basics none of these poncy named versions made up of specially selected casks , how about a 10yo CS like the stunning Renaissance ? Could they not have hung on a little while to do a special 1998 resurrection of the 17yo ? With the last 4 releases by LVMH i’m starting to loose confidence in the distillery……. BTW as i write this i’m dramming the 47.4% version , it’s still not any better !

Salvation , sort of , came with the 3rd dram , Another 200th Anniversary one , the Laphroaig Cairdeas comes in at 51.2% , this one was made with malt entirely done on their own floor malting , distilled on only the small stills and laid to rest in the oldest warehouse ! The nose is a subtle iodine mixed in with farm yard and a touch of lemon . it is actually better with a drop of water , the palate has a nice peaty / iodine / maltiness to it , it is quite relaxed at first but if you hold in on the tongue for a while it explodes into life ! The finish is very long , farm yardie and malty . The best of the night so far , it is a stunning Laphroaig but i have to add with the stunning rise in quality of the recent 10yo CS batches and my personal favourite the 18yo , it doesn’t actually seem that special……

Number 4 is from Islays newest distillery , this bottling is for the 10th Anniversary of Kilchoman , bottled at 58.2% from casks from 2005 – 2012 and made up of 70% bourbon to 30% sherry . The nose starts of quite fruity then peaty then suffers from the one thing i find in all the Kilchomans i’ve tried , it smells young . The palate is feinty peat with a touch of sherry and the finish comes in long and feinty . This distillery release is still way too young for my liking .

Over the recent years the bottlings have become a bit of a cash cow in the festival and a few indy bottlers have recently jumped on the band waggon , this year it was the SMWS’s turn with the penultimate dram of the tasting . 3.243 ‘Dark , smouldering flamenco gypsy’ , a 17yo Bowmore from a sherry butt . After my last experiences as a SMWS members many moons ago i was expecting the worse when i saw it was a sherried dram , luckily it wasn’t the dreaded ‘S’ word ! The nose was your archetypal Christmas cake with peat and it was pretty much peated sherry on the palate with a good balance between spirit and cask . The finish was long , sherry with the Bowmore Parma Violets . Not a bad dram on the whole .

They say you always keep the best to last……. Well Eddie has , a 1991 Lagavulin at 59.9% , double matured for 24yo , first in American Hoggies then into PX casks (that seems familiar……) . The nose is very smooth , a touch of smoke with digestive biscuits and a smidge of farm yard , the palate has a  touch of sweetness with smoke and peat . The finish is quite long and very sweet . It is a very good Lagavulin !

So a bit of a mixed bunch , it’s now 6 years since we were last at the Feis Ile , we don’t miss it and we don’t miss the bottlings , the original concept of the Feis Ile bottling has been lost in the mists of time now especially as there is now a Whisky Auction van waiting on the isle to take your purchase away to make loads of money off it . If i’ve upset some of my distillery friends with my ramblings , sorry , don’t take it to heart , you have to take the rough with the smooth……  as we are increasingly !     

That was the Year that was……. A Review !

So once again another year draws to a close , Just where do they go to ?

It’s been a traumatic last half of the year for me personally after loosing my job when the company i’d worked for for over 35 years shut down but i did manage to get another one straight away ! So lets look at things that have happened Islay and Whisky Wise !

Islay Visits

We’ve had 3 great visits this year….. so far ! Back in February / March we had our flying / quiet visit to Bowmore staying in the excellent Distillery Cottages . The weather was perfect , as was the company !

The Japanese Garden

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

We returned in early May for our spring visit and stayed in Port Ellen this time in a lovely little cottage on Frederick Crescent .

Port Ellen StitchAs well as a great encounter with an Otter we managed to fit in another tour with Iain at Lagavulin amongst other things !

For the Summer trip we once again returned to Maol Buidhe where we managed to do most of the usual things…… Relaxing , Walking , Eating and Drinking ! A good time was had by all on every trip !

Islay Distillery Bottling of the Year

So down to the nitty gritty , i haven’t tried as many as i’d hoped but the one’s i have i have to say have been excellent . This years runner up is a worthy winner any other time , the Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength Batch 005 , these batches just keep getting better and better IMHO . The winner is a special which came out in September and is an absolute stunner of a bottling , even though i don’t think it’s a perfect example of what a Lagavulin should be but it is perfect in pretty much every way and it’s dangerously drinkable ! So my Distillery bottling of the year is the Lagavulin Jazz Festival Bottling !

Non-Islay Distillery Bottling of the Year

I think the one that has stood out this year (even though it isn’t in the shops yet !) Is the Amrut Peated Port Single Cask ! Superb stuff !!!! This distillery has kept up it’s very high standard of bottlings , this is , from memory , the peatiest Amrut i can remember .

Islay Independent Bottling of the Year

This one goes to an independent bottler who has produced some very good bottlings , this one was a 20 year old from my Favourite Islay distillery , Ardbeg ! Whiskybroker has released two Begs this year , the last been a 21yo but the 20yo edges it m a bit more oompth than it’s elder brother . And it was very reasonably priced as well !

Non-Islay Independent Bottling of the Year

This one goes to another Whiskybroker bottling , i first tased this at the Newcastle Whisky Lounge Fest and knew straight away i had to get a bottle . The 29yo Tormore had something different about it , nice and refreshing ! Just can’t figure out why it didn’t fly off the shelf !

Best Meal on Islay

This goes to the Islay Hotel for the one we had there in August , they had been a bit up and down with their quality since we’ve been eating there  but this one was superb ! Just please keep it up !!!!

Tasting / Tour of the Year

A close run thing this year between two tours we took at Ardbeg this summer , The deconstruction one was great , if you don’t know how Begs standard bottlings are made up this is the one for you but the Decades tour did it for me ! The surprised was the absolutely stunning 1989 that was on it , it even beat the 1974 in my eyes !

On the whole it hasn’t been too bad of a year , the alarming rise in the cost of some bottlings has been very disturbing , it’ll not be long before us drinkers won’t be able to afford the stuff ! That’s if we can get our hands on it…… it seems to be flying straight off the shelf and on to a rapidly rising number of Online Auctions that seem to be appearing everyday . Not good for us drinkers at all !!!! That is until the bubble bursts….. and it will…….

So what does 2014 hold ? We’ll have to wait and see , watch this space !

Three Special Lagavulins

It is not often you get to taste 3 special Lagavulins side by side , unless your name is Serge (Just kidding!) or you write a blog that get’s invited to lots of “Launches” ! Seeing i’m neither i had to buy these bottles in order to taste them , 2 are releases for the Islay Jazz Festival and one is for the craziness that is the Feis Ile .

3-Lagas2011 Islay Jazz Festival

The only single cask release of the 3 , from a Bodega Sherry cask (#355) this was filled on the 8th February 1993 and bottled in 2011 at 55.4% . We just happened to be on Islay celebrating my 50th Birthday when the Jazz festival was on , so we managed to get a couple of bottles . It’s a lovely amber colour in the glass ( A Lagavulin Glen Cairn of course…..) , The first thing that hits the nose is a gorgeous sherry smokiness , then it becomes very coastal , seashore and seaweed , There’s also cigar tobacco . Moving onto the palate there’s a real peatiness , intermixing with orange , dried fruits , sherry , tobacco and peat smoke , the sherriness is quite dry especially in the finish , which is long , dry , and very smoky .

An incredible dram , a lovely dryness to it and a fantastic Lagavulin .

2013 Feis Ile

This one was a 3000 bottle release i believe , from European Oak Sherry Butts filled on the 8th May 1995 and bottled at 51% in 2013 . We actually picked this one up on our summer jaunt in August , there were quite a lot left in the distillery so we foafed 2 (there were also Caol ila Feis Ile’s available ) . Not as dark , Orange Marmalade i’d say , Again a powerful smoky sherriness to it , with the sherry just edging ahead . This one is definitely the proverbial “Christmas cake ” Dram , dried fruits , glace cherries , cake dough , but the nose is more relaxed than the first , then smoked ham appears and seashore . Again the palate is more relaxed but just as tasty , again all things Christmas cakey , Humbug sweets , not as dry but with a nice sweetness  , the finish is long with a minty smoked sweetness , also quite chewy !

Again another cracking Lagavulin , sherry and Laga spirit really do go well together !

2013 Jazz Festival

There were a few mumblings of discontent on the internet that this wasn’t a single cask offering but why worry about the speculators…… I think this release was 1500 bottles , from Sherry butts filled again in 1995 but this time on the 19th January , this one was bottled at 51.9% and kindly picked up for me by that well known Whisky Aficionado  Robert Banford . Back to a nice shade of Amber , The nose is less Christmas Cake and more coastal (seaweed/seashore) with orange , tobacco and a huge waft of smoke . On the palate we are hit again with tobacco , orange and peat smoke along with a nice sweetness and spices , The finish is really long with a hell of a hit of Blood Oranges !

This is a seriously dangerous Lagavulin ! It seems a lot easier to dram than the other two but to me isn’t as Lagavuliny (made up word !) as the other two or what i think as Lagavulin.

Conclusion….

What we have here are 3 absolutely stunning examples of the Lagavulin Spirit , Pinkies done a great job on selecting them (as one would expect ) , i’m glad i bought all three but to decide which is best , well……. they all have different things to recommend , i still love the 2011 Jazz (it was my 50th birthday ! ) and it is a single cask . The 2013 Feis Ile is pretty much the perfect example of a sherried Laga but the 2013 Jazz does have something “Different” about it !

Other Lagavulin tasting notes…….

Lagavulin 16yo
Lagavulin Distillers Edition (1984)
Lagavulin Distillery Only
Lagavulin 12yo Limited Edition

Islay Summer Visit 2013

Saturday 10th August
So once again we head off to Islay for our summer fortnight . Setting off at the crack of dawn the journey up was in decent weather , it was even sunny at Inverary ! After the now traditional Coffee and cake break at Tarbert , we set off for Kennacraig catching our first glimpse of wildlife on the outskirts of Tarbert……
Tarbert_deer
The Journey over on Finlaggan wasn’t the smoothest for a summer trip , odd bit of sway and a bit of wind but the Malt of the Month was Bunnahabhain ! After a stopover at Bowmore to pick a few supplies we headed off for Maol Buidhe . After unpacking and having a bite to eat we went out for an evening walk along the Kildalton Road stopping just before the dip down to Dower House . We did manage to get caught in a shower before arriving back at the Cottage . Once we’d dried off we settled down for a drink , The Maol Buidhe bar for our visit was opened…….

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Tonights pleasures were A 1973 O.b. Ardbeg , A Laddie 1972 Valinch and a Whiskybroker 29yo Tormore (tasting notes to follow at some point) .

Sunday 11th August

The first full day on Islay , bit of a lie in after yesterdays early rise then off to Ardbeg for Sunday lunch . We both went for the same food , Ardbeg Crab chowder for starters and Pan-fried Duck Breast for mains , both were superb (as usual) , after a natter to Jackie it was off for another walk along the Kildalton Road , this time along to the bay just past Dower House .

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On the way back we had an interesting experience , after just missing what appeared to be an Eagle (it screeched like an Eagle) we were heading back approaching Seal Bay when an otter bounced across the road , we were gobsmacked ! We weren’t near any visible water and it happened so fast i couldn’t get my camera off my shoulder , there was a guy parked in a car and he didn’t seem to see it .

An enjoyable afternoon walk carried on with a good evening dramming with my 3 own bottlings , the two PC casks and the Bladtub , and an appearance on the front lawn by a herd of 5 deers , gotta love Islay for wildlife !

Monday 12th August

A bit of a mixed day weather wise and a bit of an easy day for us , a drive over the other side of the Island to catch up with Paul and Joan at An Taigh Osda and pick up a cask sample at Bruichladdich . Then it was off to Bowmore to get some supplies and a coffee and cake at the Coffee Shop in Roys Celtic Shop . Then it was back off to the cottage calling in at Laphroaig to pick up some Cheese for nibbles , bumped into Christine (Logan) who was dropping off a Japanese couple , always nice to see Christine and catch up . Was good to see James (Deane) as well who’d just returned from a tour up to the Laphroaig water source .

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Port Ellen Port Ellen

After tea i left Melanie in the cottage and took a walk along to Seal Bay , it turned into a beautiful evening on this side of the isle .

Seal Bay Panorama

Ardbeg Pagodas in the evening Sunshine

Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength Batch 005

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57.2% Bottled Feb 13 , initially very smoky on the nose then sea shore – sea weed , sea air – , nettles and a touch of farmyard , quite relaxed as well . It definitely isn’t relaxed on the palate , wow , intense medicinalness , peat smoke and nettles . The finish is long, peaty and iodiney . Another cracking batch of 10yo Cask Strength , like i said the nose is quite relaxed but the palate more than makes up for it !

Tuesday 13th August

Not a bad morning when we got up so we packed a picnic and headed off to the west side of the Island and Saligo Bay . Was busier than we expected but had a nice little walk

Saligo Bay Panorama

Melanie at Saligo Bay

On the way back we stopped off at The Bridgend Hotel for a coffee , they’ve done a real nice job of the recent refurbishments , looking forward to having a meal there on saturday night . Then it was back to the cottage for a few drams in the beautiful late afternoon/early evening sunshine…….

Bruichladdich 2008 SOI II Sample

Still quite pale for a 5yo from a fresh bourbon cask , The nose is still a little bit spirity at first but then malt , lemon and green fruits (gooseberries and apples) appear . The palate shows more of the youth , very spirity but after a while the laddie traits are slightly noticeable (fruits , malt, hint of caramel toffee) .

With water the palate cools a bit but still quite youthful .

Half Term Report – Progressing nicely !

Bruichladdich Valinch 1972

laddie_72Val

From cask #9 , bottled 8th May 2002 at 48.8% .

The Colour of Orange Marmalade , The first actual thing that grabs you on the nose is Orange ! Then Vanilla and oak spices , the palate is slightly overwhelming with the vanilla and oak spices but after a short while you get a slight hint of some laddie notes but not many .

Nowhere near as good as the 1970 valinch i opened on my 50th birthday but it will be interesting to see if it opens up a lot more when it’s had a bit exposure to air .

SMOS 1979 28yo Bunnahabhain

SMOS_Bunna_1979

Distilled 31st October 1979 , Bottled 22nd April 2008 from cask # 18831 at 46%

The colour of ripe straw , straight away you get the Bunnahabhain Sweetness ( Edinburgh Rock / Confectioners Sugar) on the nose , then a slight maltiness , an absolutely beautiful nose . This dram glides across the palate , again the Bunnahabhain sweetness is out in force , it is just such an easy dramming and relaxed malt . It actually brings back so many memories of the Feis ile Warehouse tours with John the former manager . The Finish is so long and smooth .

A superb dram , probably my favourite bunnahabhain , ideal for sitting out in the Maol Buidhe Garden on a sunny summers evening !

Ardbeg Single Cask #1143

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Distilled 16th March 1973 , Bottled 22nd December 2004 at 49.3%

Bright Gold in colour , straight away you know what you’ve got here from the nose , an early 70’s Beg loaded with the Ardbeg-dine ! It catches the nasal hairs , then you get Creamy Coffee , orange and peat smoke…… Ardbeg Heaven !!!

The palate pretty much carries on the fine tradition , the Ardbeg-dine is so distinctive , silky smooth over the tongue , seducing it into submission , Wonderful ! The finish is long , smoky-iodine and as smooth as a babies bum !

There are Ardbeg casks and there is cask # 1143 !!!!!! You just have to drink Ardbegs like this……..

So after our drams we headed off for a walk in the sunshine along to Seal Bay…….

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geese_seal_bay yacht_seal_bay

and then along to Ardbeg to admire the evening views from the pier before returning to the cottage .

Wednesday 14th August

A pretty lazy day today (we’re on holiday we can !) , headed off to Ardbeg for lunch , once again the crab chowder was on (Nom – Nom !) so we both went for it ! Then Melanie went for the baked Tattie Prawn Marie Rose and i went for the Pan Fried Halibut . Tried the Islay Ales Single Malt Ale which i have to say was very good . After a natter to Mickey , we booked up a couple of tours to do during the holidays . Then it was a relaxing afternoon at the cottage before heading off for a drive along the coast .

Thursday 15th August

Probably the worst morning of the week , chucking it down , so it was lucky that we’d decided to go to Ardbeg this afternoon and i was going on the “Decades” tour . After a lunch of Cajun chicken with fluffy rice and Strawberries and cream , Melanie headed back to the cottage and Dougie took us off on the Decades tour . The first dram was at the start of the Distillery tour while Dougie told us the history of Ardbeg .

Decades-1

I’ve had this one a couple of times before , it’s a very good 1974 but lacks the oomph of the Provenance . We then proceeded through the distillery going through the production procedure .
We then went in to the chairmans study for an informal tasting of four other Cask samples

Decades-2 Decades-3

First up was a 1975 38yo , where do they keep finding these casks from ? Not a bad little Ardbeg from a Refill sherry cask but has probably seen better days (not in a bad sort of way , just an observation) , they have a few 75’s apparently , if they ever do release them i’ll put good money on it i can’t afford a bottle…….

Warewolf , Minotaur , Fairies at the bottom of the garden……

In the normal world there are lots of Myths and legends , in the Ardbeg world a 1989 Distillation was the big one , bottles had been doubted , no one confirmed that such a thing had happened . Today in my eyes it became the truth , a 1989 Cask Sample ! Taken from one of several casks ( NOW where did they find these casks ?) from a run of about 600 in late 1989 (Oct – Nov) this 24yo was stunning ! Everything you could ask for from an Ardbeg , Flows across the palate wonderfully and smells like a dream , this was definitely my holiday treat !

Decades-4 Decades-5

Number three was a 1994 and another rumour was finally confirmed , apparently in 1994/5 the purifier wasn’t working properly , it had a split – Now it wasn’t said if it was turned off completely but the stories were always that it was during the allied ownership – this was a lot heavier spirit than the others and a lovely dram . The last Sample was a 2003 , this one was to show what the TEN is like at cask strength and from a single cask . Yet another cracking dram !

I thoroughly enjoyed this tour , Dougie was an excellent , knowledgeable host , The drams on this tour were superb and well worth the cost above a normal tour (£35 for this one) especially if you want to taste the Mythical 1989 !

So after returning to the Cottage and having a bite to eat , we headed off for an evening walk along to Seal Bay , by now the rain had passed (for the time being) and the sun had come out . On the way back we got a couple of surprises , first up my mobile decided to spring into life about 100 metres from the cottages (there is no signal at the cottage but a slight one jus about 100 metres towards Ardbeg) and then a Young Stag appeared in the bushes just behind the cottages ……..

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hello deer

Friday 16th August

Another Dreary Morning so we went off for a drive up to Bunnahahbain , we went over the Mulindry Road , a beautiful wild scenic route . When we got to Bunnahabhain there was a mountain of casks at the entrance , probably the most i’ve seen piled high outside of a cooperage ! Andrew was manning the shop as everyone was out on tours and Lillian was away on holidays . Soon got to the bottom of the cask mountain (not literally) , they’ve just spent a wee bit of time reracking some of their casks , 600 Bourbon and 200 sherry ! No news on what’s happening with the new owners but they have had several visits . After making a few purchases and enjoying a dram we bid our farewells and headed back to “Other Places” .
As usual on islay the weather completely changed and we were now in bright sunshine ! We stopped off at Bridgend to have Coffee and Scones at the Hotel . To think up until recently there was a slight lack of Coffee machines on the Isle and you struggled to get a cappuccino now they are all over the place ! When we left Bridgend we got a beautiful view over Loch indaal…..

Loch indaal Stitch

After a drive back to the cottage we headed back to Port Ellen to enjoy one our favourite holiday treats , a fish supper from the Nippy Chippy ! Always a joy , we went along to the tables just beside the Port ellen warehouses to enjoy ours in the late afternoon sunshine watching the Finlaggan set sail back to the mainland , a perfect way to end the day !
Revisiting 1976 Ardbeg Single casks……

Cask 2398 27yo 24-11-76 / 05-05-04 51.4% …… A bright amber in colour , unmistakeably an Oloroso cask , beautifully balanced on the nose between the sherry and the Ardbeg spirit . Glace Cherries , coffee , Dark chocolate and a waft of peat smoke on the nose . The palate is silky smooth and pretty much the same as the nose but with a delightful peatiness . The Finish is long , smooth dry sherry and Cherry Liqueur….. WOW !!!
Cask 2390 25yo 24-11-76 / 27-04-02 53.1%……. Bright amber in colour again , Cheery liqueur on the nose with Ardbeg-dine , Cola cube sweets , peat smoke , coffee and cream . Again the palate is silky smooth , really nice dark chocolate and cherry liqueur leading to a long , sweet , iodiney , sherried finish . Another stunnins single cask Ardbeg …… Enough said !

Saturday 17th August

The really good thing about the summer visit is that when you hit the middle Saturday you know you’ve still got another week to go ! So we headed into our second week , starting off with a trip to Bowmore to get some supplies in ! After a visit to the Co-op and the butchers a refreshment break was needed so we went to Roys for a coffee and cake ! Todays treat was dinner in Katies Bar at the Bridgend Hotel , We both went for the same things , A Crab Salad with a chilli and Lime dressing with Pancetta and dried chillies for starters and a Lamb Burger with Mozzarella and salad and chips . Absolutely Delicious !!! After a few coffees and drinks and a natter to Lorna we headed off stopping in Bowmore to catch up with Phil (Gray) at The Lochside , always good to see Phil at work behind the bar , always good patter and i always try and catch him out with a couple of drams , did this time with the Amrut Greedy Angels and the Beg 1973 , he was very impressed with the Amrut and stunned by the Beg . Then it was back off to Maol Buidhe for bed……

Sunday 18th August

Another lazy sunday at Maol Buidhe , Melanie sat out in the Garden , i went for a walk down the road to try out the video part of the 7D , eventually i cooked us two of the hugest , tenderest , sirloin steaks i’ve ever seen from the Butchers in Bowmore , melt in the mouth stuff ! We need our evening walk down to Seal Bay to help start digesting these beauts !

Monday 19th August

The second Week commences….. We had the Deconstruction tour booked at Ardbeg this afternoon so we had lunch before , Melanie went for the Crab and Salmon Chowder to start with followed by the Roast Beef Dinner , i went for the Smoked Salmon and Halibut Fish cakes followed by the Beef . We went off for a walk to the pier before the tasting……

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Melanie on the Pier Melanie at Ardbeg

Then at 2pm it was off on the tour , Heather was our guide today (this was only the 2nd time she’d done this particular tour but you couldn’t tell) . It was a tour of the distillery before we headed off to the Warehouse to try 4 cask samples that were used to make up the 3 standard bottlings – The Ten , Uigeadail and Corryvreckan…..

Ardbeg Deconstruction tour

First up was a 2003 Refill Bourbon Cask 2337 at 56.5% , not a bad start , a bit strong for some on the tour . Next was 2003 Fresh Bourbon Cask 2783 at 58.1% , A lovely sweet Ardbeg , i do like fresh bourbon casks ! Third was Melanies favourite , A sherry cask #2340 from 2007 at 61.4% , at 6yo’s it was dangerously drinkable ! Last was the Virgin French Oak Cask #4586 from 2004 at 57.5% , totally different from the previous 3 casks but still enjoyable . We also got to play a little game , we were given 8 little bottles containing smells that are found in Ardbeg tasting notes , to say we failed miserably is an understatement , we got 1 out of the 8 . We headed back to the Old Kiln for one final dram , the 1974 that i’d had on the previous tour . Heather done a great job on the tour and as i previously said we couldn’t tell it was only the 2nd time she’d done this one !
So which tour is for you ? If you are new to Ardbeg i would say the deconstruction one – you get to understand what makes up the bottlings and the notes you should be looking for , if you are a connoisseur the Decades – you get to try stuff only seen in your dreams !
A quiet night in the cottage finished the day off……

Tuesday 20th August

A bit of a dull day again when we woke up , we drove off to the other side of the Island for a wee walk . Todays destination was the Loch Gruinart Reserve , on the way we got to see our first Buzzard (there seemed to be a slight lack of them on the island )

Buzzard

We’d never actually walked around the reserve , first off we did the Woodland walk then The Moorland section , a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon…….

Graylags at Loch Gruinart Dragonfly
Painted Lady Butterfly Peacock Butterfly

Young Chaffinch

On the way back we stopped off at The Bridgend Hotel again for Tea , Coffee and cakes , They do a lovely Cappuccino ! By now the rain had returned and we headed back to the Cottage via a drive along to the Cross .

Wednesday 21st August

Not a very nice morning to wake up to , we had intended doing a walk today but by the time we got to our destination it was quite wet so we headed off for a drive , first stop was Caol Ila Distillery to see if they had any of the Feis Ile bottling left , they did so after trying it 2 were duly purchased ! They thought Lagavulin had some left as well……
We then headed off for a drive on the Rhinns Circular route , down through Port Charlotte to Portnahaven then back up the West Coast to Port Charlotte . A lovely little scenic drive when you’ve got nothing to do . Then it was into Bowmore for Coffee and Cakes at Roys , before driving back to the Cottage stopping at Lagavulin to pick up another feis ile bottling .

(Click on Images to see full size )

Melanie_meal

After freshening up it was off to Port Ellen for our annual Dinner out with Ella and Mary at The Islay Hotel . Things didn’t get off to a good start as my first drink ( an Islay Ales Angus Og) didn’t taste right , it was flat and yeasty out of the bottle , now i’ve drunk quite a bit Angus Og – it is my Favourite from the brewery – and it’s not often i complain but to be made feel the guilty party in this wasn’t too clever . Did you pour it right ? have you had it before ? What happened to customer service and the customer is always right ???? Eventually i got another which was a whole lot better but still feel like i was the bad one in all this !

It’s always really nice to spend an evening in the company of Ella and Mary , the craic was exceptional and the food superb , For starters Mary , Ella and myself went for the Islay Scallops in Garlic Butter and Melanie went for the Ham Hock terrene with Chutney and ciabatta bread. First Scallops of the holiday and they were superb ! For the mains , Ella , Mary and Melanie went for the Corn Fed Chicken with Sauteed Potatoes , asparagus and hollandaise sauce . I went for the Argyll Lamb Cutlets with Ratatouille and Mashed Pots . Not being suitably stuffed we all went for a pudding as well , the girls had Strawberries shortcake with cream and i went for Cranachan . The food in the Islay was excellent tonight but not as good as the company !!!! We bit our Farewells and headed off to the Cottage .

Thursday 22nd August

We awoke to Bright sunshine so we headed off for a walk , our original destination was Loch Uigeadail , the ground was quite soggy underfoot and when we reached Solam the Hills up ahead were covered in low cloud so we decided to halt our walk there . After a picnic we headed back down the hills and returned to the Cottage where i sit writing this in bright sunshine in the garden , totally different to the past few days !

Solams Plaque

Solams Plaque

One of the Remains

One of the Remains

Uigeadails up there.... Somewhere!

Uigeadails up there…. Somewhere!

Across to Loch Iarnan

Across to Loch Iarnan

rouge-5

A wee Butterfly , need to find out what.....

A wee Butterfly , A Small Copper

It was such a nice night that after tea we headed off for a drive in the Car up to Bunnahabhain , It’s still a special place for us , where Melanie decided it would be a good idea to have a fortnights holiday on Islay rather than a week and it’s always sad to see the Cottages in such a sad state of decay But there still is something special about the place !

Some of the previously mentioned casks at Bunnahabhain…….

casks1 casks3
casks4 casks2

On the drive back we made the mistake of going through Bowmore , a portion of chips from the Nippy Chippy was called for…….

Clouds coming into Kilnaughton Bay

Clouds coming into Kilnaughton Bay

Friday 23rd August

Our final day of this stay and yesterdays good weather had vanished ! In between packing our stuff away we managed to fit in a couple of Meals ! First up was Lunch at the Old Kiln , what a delight it was ! Pan Fried Halibut on a bed of Sweet Potato and Spring onion mash with a creamy prawn sauce topped with a langoustine , this photo by Melanie doesn’t do it justice !

lunch

It was delicious and if it had been at a hotel (on the Isle) would have been twice the price ! Our second meal was from The Nippy Chippy , must say their Fish Supper is rather good and worth hunting out , then it was back to the Cottage to finish off the packing and tidy up……

The View i'll miss most......

The View i’ll miss most……

Saturday 24th August

So we packed the car and bid our Goodbyes to Maol Buidhe for this year, off to Port Ellen to Catch the Finlaggan back to the Mainland . Of course there was one last treat , Calmacs legendary Traditional Scottish Breakfast ! Sets you up for the day ! The drive home was pretty good , did notice there was no Roadworks on ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ , the first time for many a year !

Finlaggan approaching Port Ellen

Finlaggan approaching Port Ellen

This years Spoils……..

Spoils

Rouges Gallery…….

rouge-1 rouge-2
rouge-3 rouge-4

Summer 2012 Trip – The Last Bit !

Thursday 23rd August

Today we were actually going off-island….. to Jura , Mickey and Mags were over at their holiday home and invited us over to see them . This was our 4th trip over to Jura (the island not the distillery) , since our last visit they shut the Gardens – which was a shame as it was a really nice walk – and as we found out after a drive up the isle , they’d also started felling some of the forests which made some of the areas look a bit desolate .

(click on the photos to see full size images)

Jura ferry Craighouse Harbour

After parking in the new Jura Hall car park we took a short walk up to Mickey and Mags cottage up the hill . It has cracking , uninterrupted views across Craighouse to the mainland . After a cuppa and a natter we went back down into Craighouse for lunch at the Antlers , various venison and beef burgers were consumed along with an Antlers Brunch , all were thoroughly enjoyed . To walk off the lunch we went back up to their cottage , collected Poppy their dog and headed off further up the hill to see the views…..

Poppy

Poppy

Though at one point i wasn’t sure who was taking who for a walk , the climb was quite steep at points but it was worth it to see the view……

Jura Panorama
After returning down the hill again to the cottage and a dram and more of natter we bid farewell to the Heads and went to catch the ferry back to Islay . The night ended with a few drams in front of the last real fire of the visit . 

Friday 24th August

So to our last full day on the Isle , after packing our belongings we headed off to the west to see how Mary was getting on during her “Summer Break” . She’s doing well during her temporary residency in Port Charlotte , she has a lovely view to take her mind off things…..

Port Chalotte View

We headed back to the deep south for a change of clothing before hitting the Bridgend Hotel for our last meal out of the trip . Once again The Bridgend didn’t disappoint , the food was superb , I went for Langoustines in Garlic butter for starters , followed by Islay Scallops with chargrilled fennel , parsley mash and panchetta with a saffron and leek cream sauce . For pudding i went for a Honey Bavois with shortcake and a rich chocolate sauce  . Mel went for the same starter but had a steak with peppercorn sauce and handcut chips  for the main and a vanilla and marscapone panacotta with garden rhubarb compote . Absolutely fantastic ! Kevin (ex-Old Kiln cafe) is a great chef , The Bridgend hasn’t half changed since we first set foot on the isle many moons ago and they are not resting on their laurels , during the winter there will be a bit of remodelling in the Katies Bar/ lounge area and in some of the bedrooms . A thoroughly good place to have a meal out in , no matter the occasion !

We stopped off in Bowmore on the way back to see if we could catch up with Phil (Gray) but it wasn’t his night in at The Lochside so it was back to the cottage for an early night…..   

Saturday 25th August

We left the Isle on the 9.45 ferry , starting the day with a Calmac Breakfast , the journey back to the mainland was in nice weather but we soon hit rain on the road , quite heavy in places but as soon as we got south of Glasgow they died off . So another trip over , the weather wasn’t as bad as the forecasts had tried to make out (does the Met office not know about the Islay Climate ?) Till the next time !

Lagavulin Bay

Lagavulin Bay

Cottage Stitch

360 view from the Cottage Jetty

Islay Whisky Classics No.22 – Lagavulin 12yo Limited Edition

Lagavulin , in the good ol’ days was always released as a 12yo before the classic malts came along , now the only way to get it this way is through the annual limited edition releases . This one was released in 2003 .

Lagavulin 12yo Limited Edition

At an abv of 57.8% , The colour of ripening Barley , it smells quite young initially  , very peaty , not a lot of the ‘older’ Lagavulin smoke , has a very familiar nose of one of it’s neighbours , creamy coffee , pine nuts and lemon . The Palate is Slightly creamy but fully loaded with peat , a touch of sweetness later on and a sprinkling of pepperiness . The finish is long peaty and peppery .

Not quite as elegant as the 16yo more of a peat monster , i actually prefer this to the 16yo , more bite and more interesting . Actually more akin to it’s neighbours in this guise  , worth a punt if you are a peat monster loving dramster !

The Best of the Year

On the Old Spirit of Islay Site at the end of the year i used to do a sort of yearly awards so i thought why not do it here ! So here are the things that we thoroughly enjoyed this year and we thought deserved some recognition in the 2011 Islay Visits Awards……..

Islay Distillery Bottling of the Year – Not a lot of new releases this year , a few specials and a few relaunches . My favourite has been the Lagavulin Jazz festival Bottling . A 1993 ex-bodega Sherry cask selected by Iain MacArthur . A stunning Lagavulin that shows off the distillery characteristics to a tee !
Lagavulin 1993
Islay Independent Bottling There were quite a few candidates in this one , including ones from the SMWS , Whiskybrokers 20yo Islays and the Queen of the Moorlands 10yo Bruichladdich , all worthy winners ! But it was one that sneaked in at the last moment that stole it . We went to The Whisky Lounges Islay Blind Fury 2 Tasting recently , sitting in glass No.4 was a beaut , dark colour compared to the rest and then when we tried it we both said Old Sherried Bunnahabhain ! So our Fav in this section is Berrys own 1979 Bunnahabhain Cask #1795 at 54.7% . The perfect Christmas day dram ! We managed to track down a bottle of this and if you can find one i would say grab it with both hands !!! Doug , Rob and the gang at BBR have managed to find a classic , Sherry aged , Bunnahabhain that is getting up to the standard of The famous Auld Acquaintance .

Berrys Own Bunnahabhains

The 1979 with a brace of the current 1990

Non-Islay Distillery Bottling of the YearNot had a great deal of these but there is one distillery that had 3 i had a great deal of difficulty choosing between . It was a choice between their Distillers Choice (a stunning 4yo ) , A 10yo from a 2001 single sherry butt and a 1992 18yo from a sherry butt . In the end i went for the 10yo , simply because its a stunner filled with the New owners spirit . Raymond has been putting out some fantastic bottlings of the spirit he’s distilled since he bought Bladnoch and this is probably the best !
Non-Islay Independent BottlingOnly one winner here ! from the SMWS 7.67 ‘Breakfast Dram’ , a killer 7yo Longmorn at 61.4% (all the best drams are bottled at 61.4%….) , This is so good i bought 4 ! Very drinkable at 7yo and at that strength .
Best Meal on IslayThis year we’ve had some very disappointing meals on Islay (some verging on inedible ) which is strange as the food is usually to a very high standard on the Isle . Luckily the Bridgend Hotel came to our rescue , In September we took some of our friends out for a meal here to celebrate my 50th birthday , They’d just took a new chef on , Kevin , and he has set up a superb menu . We had a fantastic meal (see the September visit report) . It was so good we went back later in the Holiday and bumped into others who had been with us doing the same ! And we’ll be back on future visits…….
Tasting of the Year Only one winner here , The Johnstons Choice at Laphroaig Distillery , The host David was great , the Whisky Superb and Mel found some Laphroaigs she liked !
Event of the Year (outside a normal tour) My 50th Birthday ! Fantastic Company , Great malts , great tours on Islay and the remains of a hurricane ! A fun filled two weeks for sure !
Islay Distillery of the year Has to be Bunnahabhain . The owners finally got their arses in gear and turned the standard bottlings 46.3% , NCF and uncoloured . Took the 18yo up another notch and made the 25 worth spending so much money on ! It’s not the prettiest looking of distilleries but it has 3 important things……. Really nice people working there , A great view and most importantly , Stunning Whisky ! A vastly under-rated Distillery , not just on Islay , that has produced some of the all time greats , The 65 and 66 Feis ile  , The Auld Acquaintance , the 1990 Feis Ile , not forgetting a lot of independently bottled stuff .

Bunnahabhain Bay

Easter 2011

Saturday 23rd April

It’s time for our annual Spring week visit to Islay…… Once again we left at the early hour of 4.30am , the journey up was in a mixture of misty and rain weather wise , it wasn’t until we got close to Kennacraig it became lovely and sunny but windy . The journey over was smooth and sunny….but windy….. Arriving at Carraig Cottages we were in the perfect weather , Clear skys , sun and no wind ! We settled in , freshened up and then went off to the Port Charlotte Hotel for Tea and a drink . Mel had the Thai Red Curry , i had the Braised Lamb Shank . A pint of Angus Og and a couple of drams later ( a PC8 and a Bunnahabhain Cruach Mhona , both good drams but the Bunna definitely shades it ) we headed back to the Cottage to enjoy the evening sunshine and a few drams of Airigh Nam Beist , well i did , Mel had her usual wine .

(click on photos to see full size versions)

Sunny PC The Paps
Me in PC Mel in PC

Sunday 24th

Our first full day on Islay , we awoke to an overcast morning , we were going to drive down to Ardbeg and have lunch at the Old Kiln but unfortunately it was shut so instead we went to the Bridgend Hotel and had Sunday lunch there . The Bridgend Hotel is one place that seems to have been getting it’s act together over the past couple of years , The Lunch was fantastic , i had the venison and Mel had the Beef , we both had the Strawberry cheesecake for pudding . We returned to the cottage in beautiful sunshine and sat outside in the lovely weather admiring the view .

Mel outside Carraig Cottage Port Charlotte Lighthouse Oystercatchers

Just as we were packing up to go for a short walk i finally got to meet another local who i’ve read in words on the internet , Carl Reavey , after a wee bit of a natter he continued his walk with his wife and i set off on ours with mine……

We walked along to the lighthouse , back again , along the sands to the Pier , around the bottom of the village then returned to via the Port Charlotte Hotel , not far but a nice early evening walk , we even managed to miss the otter playing in front of our cottages !!!! We decided to pop into the hotel for a bit of light refreshment , there was a band playing that night and Grahame seeing a camera asked me to take a few photos for him……

Band in PCH Band at PCH Band at PCH

You may well see some of these photos on the walls of the Hotel in the not to distant future…….

Grahame of the PCH

Graham doing his finest superman impersonation……or he lost his rolls of wallpaper…… He actually gave us a song !

Drams tonight included G&M 1996 Cask Strength Caol Ila , Kilchoman Summer 2010 , QOTM Peated Bunnahabhain (82 bottles) , And an Ardbeg Uigeadail .

Monday 25th

Woke up to another sunny day on the Isle , we decided just to potter around today so headed down to Ardbeg for lunch , i had a Crab chowder soup followed by a Haggis baked potato with Clootie dumpling , Mel had a Prawn Marie Rose Baked Tattie followed by Tangy Lemon Tarte . Not often you here me complain about the food at the Old Kiln but mine could have done with a sauce rather than the Onion Marmalade , it was a tad too dry……. After catching up with Emma , Margaret and Janey we popped along to Lagavulin to book up the warehouse tour for thursday . We had a wee natter with Marjory before she headed off with a tour .

Next we popped into Laddie to see our good friend Mary , as usual she was in fine form , We even got to try the gin (Mmmmmm….) , the current valinch and the Black Arts 2 .

Tonights drams included a Laphroaig 10 , Macphails 1991 Bunnahabhain , Caol Ila 10yo Unpeated and Laphroaig 10yo CS Batch 001 .

Tuesday 26th

Yet another Glorious day on Islay , after a late breakfast we headed to the south shore to do a short walk up to Loch Iarnan , the last time we went up here we got drenched ( See here ) so it was nice to do it in lovely sunshine with a nice breeze to keep us cool .

Mel at Loch Iarnan Primroses

There was a nice display of wildflowers on the way to the loch , including primroses , once at the Loch the ground under foot was wet and we only made it slightly around the back of the loch .
We headed back to the cottage afterwards and enjoyed an afternoon and early evening in the sunshine , even receiving a visit from a local cat ‘ before heading off to the Port Charlotte Hotel for a meal .

Waves on a rock A worried Oystercatcher A local Cat

Wednesday 27th

Woke up to a beautiful clear sky this morning so we decided to head off for a late morning walk to one of our favourite places , Bridgend Woods ! There was still a bit of a chill in the breeze but once in the woods we didn’t notice it , The place was awash with bluebells , almost a carpet in places but there were still a lot to come out so it’ll be a riot of Blue when they do !

Carpet of Bluebells Single Bluebell Primroses and Bluebells

As well as the Bluebells there was also a fair smattering of Primroses and it looked like some of the Rhododendrons are about to spring into life .

Mel on the Bridge The River

We spotted quite a few butterflies around , the usual suspects and the one on the end photo which we haven’t a clue what it is .

The River Bank The River Bank A Butterfly

As we were removing our boots an old friend pulled up in the car park , Ed Bates ( formerly of BBR) , we caught up and then headed off our separate ways . He was heading to Bowmore Distillery , we were going to Ardbeg for a late lunch . On arrival we bumped into Georgie Crawford the new Manageress of Lagavulin Distillery and a friend of old , hopefully we can catch up properly tomorrow on our visit . Once again it was a very nice lunch We both went for Crab Chowder , Smoked Haddock , leek and parmesan Quiche with a white chocolate and vanilla cheesecake as pudding . After a natter with Margaret , we headed off to Bowmore to pick up some supplies before returning to the cottage for a lazy evening .

Thursday 28th

An early start to the day to catch a bus down to Port Ellen , the reason ? The Lagavulin Warehouse Tour with Pinkie ! We caught the bus just outside the cottage and after a change at Bowmore got down to Port Ellen about 9.20am and set off to walk along the South Shore road . It’s a beautiful walk especially on a really nice day like today . We got along to Laphroaig when a kindly soul offered us a lift the rest of the way . Arriving too early we took a little walk further up the road and ended up at the back of the Distillery .

Lagavulin Distillery Dunyveg Castle

Once again the warehouse tour was fantastic again , Pinkie was in fine form with his usual sense of humour but i do wonder if the foreign visitors get all his jokes ? The drams were once again great and included….

  • New Make
  • 10yo 2nd Refill
  • Mystery Cask 14yo 4th Refill
  • 1993 Refill Sherry
  • 1966 45yo
  • Lagavulin Distillery Only Bottling

After a bit of a natter with Georgie on the way out we walked along to Ardbeg for Lunch , Todays lunch was Cullen Skink soup and Baked potato for Mel , Cullen Skink , Crab Fishcakes and Clottie Dumpling for me . Superb as usual . We headed off for the bus after a catch up with Mickey and returned to the cottage . After a freshen up and a bit sun worshiping we went off to the PCH for a bite to eat (Mels usual Thai Red Curry and i had Lagavulin Scallops….)

Ardbeg Distillery The Grass is always greener.....

Friday 29th

Our last official full day on the Isle and a quiet one and another beautiful day ! After a late breakfast it was a drive down to Ardbeg for lunch stopping at Bridgend to buy the only whisky purchase of this holiday , a 10yo Unpeated Caol Ila , i think i’ve been very good this holiday with Purchases !

10yo Caol ila Unpeated

You don’t really want to know what we had at The Old Kiln do you ?

Oh alright then , Mel had the Salmon and Tomato Chowder , the crab Fish cakes and a Scone and cream to finish with . I went for the Peking Duck wrap followed by a Chocolate and marshmallow Cheesecake . After spending an hour or so sunning ourselves on the tables outside we headed back to the Cottage , stopping off at An Taigh Osda to drop in and say hello to Paul and Joan . We’ll be spending a quiet night in the cottage with a meal , wine and whisky and a lovely real fire !

Saturday 30th

The day of departure…… we couldn’t get on the usual morning ferry this morning so we ended up with another half day on Islay . An early start to load the car , we bid our farewells to Carraig and headed north , well north west to Kilchoman , Mel wanted to have a look at the shop seeing we had a bit of spare time . Needless to say i drove carefully up to the distillery……..

We then headed to Bridgend to get some petrol (£1.50.5 a litre……) and i succumbed to another 10yo Unpeated Caol Ila , then we had a drive along to Bowmore where i completely collapsed and went for the 12yo Unpeated Caol Ila . We then went back to the Bridgend Hotel for lunch , we both had a Prawn Cocktail for starters and the Venison Burger for the main , The meal was excellent again , well recommended for somewhere to eat and not too costly either ! We then headed to Port Askaig for the ferry and a meeting up with someone i’ve spoken too loads on the web but never seen in the flesh , Ron from Islayinfo.com . We had a good natter about things Islay past and present then we bid our farewell to him and the Isle and boarded the Hebridean Isles . Enjoy your 3 week stay Ron ! The crossing wasn’t too bad given the windy conditions .

So that’s another Islay adventure over , looking forward already to the next one……

Roll on September !!!!

The Panoramas !

Even though one of our favourite spots is Bunnahabhain i think deep down in our hearts the South shore of Islay wins all the time as our favourite part of the Isle . Once you get past the 3 famous distilleries i think it’s the sheer ruggedness of the place and the Fantastic scenery .

(Click on photos to see a larger version)

Ardbeg distillery

Taken from the road as we walked along from Lagavulin , Ardbeg is definitely the most Picturesque of the Distilleries in the most beautiful of surroundings .

Looking towards Kintyre

This one was taken part of the way up the farm track as you walk up from Ardbeg to Loch Iarnan looking over the south shore towards Kintyre.

Above Loch Iarnan

Taken higher up from the rear of  Loch Iarnan again looking across to Kintyre .

A Compendium of Old Islay Visit Photos that don’t fit in anywhere else…..

Rummaging through old photographs i found some that may (or may not) be of interest from early visits to Islay .

The first two small but perfectly formed offerings are from our very first visit in 1999 i think , i must have the originals of these somewhere……. Taken on a lovely summer day at the Back of the Lochside hotel , it was a great place to sit with a dram looking over Loch Indaal taking in the Rays ! 

Gordon on Islay Mel on Islay

Love the Aerosmith Tour T-shirt !

On to 2000 , this time a few views around Islay……

(Click on photos to see full size)

BruichladdichBruichladdich in the summer before re-opening

Port EllenPort Ellen Distillery , Warehousing and Maltings

Port CharlotteThe remains of the old Loch Indaal Distillery

Lagavulin DistilleryLagavulin Distillery

Me at LagavulinMe at Lagavulin , still got that top…….

So onto 2001 , first visit to the re-opened Laddie , first visit to Lagavulin and another visit to Ardbeg…….

Bruichladdich Distillery Lagavulin Distillery
Lagavulin Wash Backs Lagavulin Distillery
Ardbeg Stillhouse Ardbeg Spirit Receiver

The filling of my first valinch , the original way , by hand with a….eh….Valinch !

Filling a Laddie Valinch Filling a Laddie Valinch

My first go at Islay Wildlife Photography……

A Bird of Prey Bird of Prey

Haven’t a clue what it was , Buzzard ?