Archive For May 30, 2015

Cult of Ardbeg Day is Here – The Brilliance of Guerrilla Marketing

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Cult of Ardbeg Day is Here – The Brilliance of Guerrilla Marketing

Ardbeg, masters of marketing hype that they are, have attempted (and are reasonably successful) to make the Fèis Ìle open day into something more global than just the festival on Islay. Despite being a rather small operation (1.3 million liters per year, smaller than Bruichladdich and about a third of Laphroaig). How was this done? The…

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Fèis Ìle Bunnahabhain Open Day – What Does the Helmsman Drink?

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Fèis Ìle Bunnahabhain Open Day – What Does the Helmsman Drink?

In 2014 (and 2015), Bunnahabhain released two festival releases, one is the “normal” festival bottling and another is an older “exclusive” bottling, priced accordingly. This year, there is an 11 year old called Rubha A’ Mhail (pronounced ‘rooaval’) that was fully matured in Manzanilla sherry butts, and an 18 year old Moscatel finish, kept in Moscatel wine hogsheads for two…

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Fèis Ìle Bowmore Open day – Tasting the Bowmore Fèis Ìle 2014

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Fèis Ìle Bowmore Open day – Tasting the Bowmore Fèis Ìle 2014

Bowmore open day is today, and we honor the self proclaimed oldest distillery on the island with a dram of the 2014 Fèis Ìle bottling. This was a particularly good selection of casks, which shine even through the relative youth of the whisky. The Bowmore Small Batch seems to be of a similar age, but doesn’t…

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Fèis Ìle Laphroaig Open day – Tasting the Càirdeas 2014

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Fèis Ìle Laphroaig Open day – Tasting the Càirdeas 2014

Laphroaig is one of the most popular distilleries on Islay, and the Càirdeas releases have an almost religious following among aficionados. Officially, this is a Friends of Laphroaig release which to the best information I have is an 8 year old, having spent seven years in ex bourbon casks and was finished for one year in Amontillado…

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Fèis Ìle Caol Ila Open day – Tasting the 2014 Fèis Ìle Bottling

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Fèis Ìle Caol Ila Open day – Tasting the 2014 Fèis Ìle Bottling

It seems that for 2015 Diageo decided to make another use of their Distiller’s Reserve casks and do a triple maturation: First standard casks,  then using the DE casks (PX for Lagavulin and Moscatel for Caol Ila) for a second  maturation and “old oak puncheons”  for a third gentle maturation. I’m not really sure what…

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Fèis Ìle Bruichladdich Open day – Tasting the Quadruple Distilled Octomore Discovery

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Fèis Ìle Bruichladdich Open day – Tasting the Quadruple Distilled Octomore Discovery

Day two of the Fèis Ìle takes us to Bruichladdich, where master distiller Jim McEwan will be retiring in July after 52 years in the whisky industry, a major part of them with Bowmore. He’s been with Bruichladdich since 2000, and has made the idea of terroir his signature. I’ll be seeing him in a masterclass together with…

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Fèis Ìle Lagavulin Open day – Tasting the Lagavulin 1995 Sherry Bomb

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Fèis Ìle Lagavulin Open day – Tasting the Lagavulin 1995 Sherry Bomb

Last year’s Lagavulin festival bottling was probably the best of the Fèis Ìle crop last year. A sweet sherry bomb, this is a great sipper. As I mentioned in another post, Lagavulin has the most limited core range of all distilleries, holding a single expression: the 16 year old. Other regular bottlings include a yearly release of a 12…

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An Independent Fèis Ìle Bottling – Douglas Laing’s Laphroaig 14

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An Independent Fèis Ìle Bottling – Douglas Laing’s Laphroaig 14

Yes, I know…we’re right in the middle of a Talisker series that will still include the 18, 25 and 30 year old expressions. But Fèis Ìle is here, and I got together all of the festival bottlings from last year to taste on each distillery’s open day. This is a concept pioneered by my colleague and…

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Storms Can Get Dark on the Isle of Skye

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Storms Can Get Dark on the Isle of Skye

Talisker Dark Storm is the new travel retail expression, going along with the trend of NAS duty free exclusives. The problem is, how do you create another new expression with enough merit to stand on its own? The solution found on Skye was to use heavily charred casks with spirit that is very close to…

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A Storm is Brewing on the Island of Skye

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A Storm is Brewing on the Island of Skye

Talisker Storm is, in many ways, the exact opposite of the Skye (reviewed here). While the Skye is meant to be a soft and gentle introduction to the Talisker lineup, the Storm (and by extension also the Dark Storm) is extremely maritime and smoky, and definitely conjures up images of a storm. This isn’t the…

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