Islay Festival 2016 Islay Ales

Another day of sunshine was well received by all the festival visitors and locals, we can easily get used to this kind of weather although we probably shouldn't! And when you look at the forecast it's likely to stay the same, albeit a bit cloudier, for at least another week.

As we are experiencing very busy times over at the Islay Info residence we only had a few hours to spend on the festival this afternoon. We had to skip Bowmore unfortunately and decided to go to Islay House Square. There was a relatively new band (2011) called "Reely Jiggered" which we really wanted to see. The band consist of three members, two sisters who have a family connection with Islay, and a male member who is their cousin.

Their style is best described as, and this is a quote from their website: "To go to one of their gigs is to be taken on a journey through the streets of Mexico, the salsa clubs of Cuba, the furious fiddling of gypsies, and haunting melodies of Celtic Britain mixed with the soaring voice of a diva soprano, the beauty of acoustic instruments, revved up by driving bass lines, wah wah pedals and rocked up rhythms." It was a fabulous to hear them play and we didn't have to think long to buy their CD. If you want to know more about them and hear their music visit their website and listen to some of the songs in the media section. They are very good!! Continue reading....

Islay Festival 2016 Laphroaig Open Day

I'm afraid I had to skip Caol Ila yesterday due to other commitments but today I managed to visit the Laphroaig Open Day. And what a day it was. Early mist cleared, the sun broke through and we were treated with a fabulous day and hardly any wind. Days like that let you forget the dark and wet winter months easily. Unfortunately as time was limited due to work I could only visit for an hour.

While some arrived by car or taxi most folk used the fabulous "Three Distilleries Path". I can't praise the people enough who have designed, built and funded the path. It's so well done and a great asset for Islay! It has a wonderful surface for walking and cycling, there are good signs, bins for litter, well built bridges and nice benches to sit on and relax. What more can you wish for? I would love to see such a fantastic path between Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich. Continue reading....

Islay Festival 2016 Bruichladdich Open Day

Bruichladdich, or the weather gods, or Simon Coughlin or whoever, pulled it off again. Another sunny Bruichladdich open day and a very well organised one I must add. Adam Hannah did his first master class this morning and I have been told he was a very worthy successor of Jim McEwan. It must have been difficult for him to do a master class in front of more than 200 people. Well done!!

Around 9.30am the first people were queueing outside the distillery and they were fortunate as the sun was shining brightly. In the meanwhile the Dutch tall ship Thalassa had moored at the pier. The gates officially opened at 12.30 and the day was started by Simon Coughlin. For some reason it seemed less crowded compared to last years, perhaps the area in which everything took place was larger as a few tents were placed at the back of the distillery.



There were a lot of stalls with food and drink and an RNLI cafe. The Octomore beef burgers at the BBQ were donated by James Brown and its proceeds will go to a local charity. I believe it was the Islay Museum, correct me when I'm wrong here. At the back of the distillery was the Botanist Tent, filled with the very botanics the gin is made off. A delicious experience as quite a few herbs could be eaten. Ailsa told me they were "eating her tent". Continue reading...

Islay Festival 2016 Lagavulin Open Day

From today onwards I will try to give wee impressions of the Islay Festival 2016, mostly of the distillery open days. The first distillery open day of this years Islay festival was held at Lagavulin Distillery. Saturday morning started with heavy downpours and just in time the weather changed and it dried up, although there were a few showers passing during the day.

It was a special day for Lagavulin as they were also celebrating their 200th anniversary. When we arrived in Lagavulin around 11.30am we were rather overwhelmed by the amount of cars and the long queue of people waiting for the special 18yr festival bottling. Some folk were already waiting there for hours and from what we had seen they would have to wait a few hours more. We went into the courtyard instead and enjoyed the music, art stalls, woodcraft tent and the constantly changing light over the bay with Dunyvaig Castle. The weather seems to be improving for tomorrow which will mean sunshine at Bruichladdich open day, and next week the good weather will stay with us. The pictures below give an impression of our visit. Tomorrow we'll report from Laddie Open Day. Continue reading...