So the more observant amongst you may notice that there is no Day One post from this years Feis. That's because we spent Saturday travelling up from England trying to avoid the worst the motorway network could throw at us, whilst picking up some funky Feis Ile tees for Master of Malt. Once on Islay though we managed to catch up with Andrew from The Bowmore House and shared a couple of whiskies.
Day two was Sunday and Sunday meant Bruichladdich day and Bruichladdich meant sun and there was plenty of early morning sun on Islay. We were booked onto Jims's final(?) masterclass and what a treat it was Jim entertained us all with stories of years gone by with musical interludes from some of the best including the legendary Robin Laing. We tried an fine selection of whiskies – some of the best from Bruichladdich. The highlights are below.
Black Art 4 (work in progress) 49.2%
Jim had handcrafted the latest incarnation of Black Art and wanted our approval as to whether he should continue tinkering, or bottle it as it was. The overwhelming consensus was to bottle – a fence decision from the Islay crowd.
Nose: Stewed fruit, toffee, rum Christmas cake and tobacco. Full of salt and dark cherries.
Palate: Very silky and fruity. Plummy and lots of tobacco smoke. Sightly bitter and bags of treacle.
Laddie Five-O 47.2% [Festival Bottle]
A masterpiece in whisky creation from Jim. Crafted over 6 weeks with whisky totalling over 100 years of age. We bought a bottle, a bottle that just sums up what Islay should be in a glass.
Nose: Peaches, apricot, fruity and tropical
Palate: Very complex, fruity, soft and full of vanilla. Gentle heat and spices
The masterclass was exceptional – a real treat, educational, hilarious and a real privilege to be there. The open day continued well. We caught up with Master of Malt, exchanged the tees and shared some old Bruichladdich 10 which was really creamy and malty. Later we found John from the SMWS and Colin Dunn and shared some drams and stories. Bruichladdich day rocked.
After a brief nap to recuperate we headed out to join the Friends of Laphroaig and enjoyed a spit roast pig feast. Due to an impressive downpour of rain all the FoL sheltered together in the peat shed and sampled some generous drams of the Laphroaig Feis and Cask Strength Batch 005 bottlings. As the night drew colder we visited the still rooms for a bit of warmth and to briefly chat to night shift staff. Great night had by all.