Bruichladdich festivities were from 12 to 6 pm.
There were some entertainments for children, many different food stalls, a beer tent run by the Islay brewery, a cocktail bar run very efficiently by some Germans and of course a whisky bar. It was a fiver to get in, but this included two free drams (of Rocks, apparently no choice of what you had, they just dished them out). The food was excellent. We had some gorgeous scallops (fried in a bruichladdich based sauce, 3 for a fiver) and I scoffed half a dozen oysters (also a fiver). Michelle had a strawberry cocktail and I had a dram of the 3D peat proposal (which both cost, you guessed it, a fiver). There was dancing and music and it had a really nice village fayre atmosphere.
There was an amazingly cosmopolitan crowd. This was our first official festival event so I guess this is the norm, but I would say 60% of the people there were not British. Fantastic to see so many whisky lovers willing to make the journey here. We did not stay to the end as we have the Laphroaig gathering tonight and I need to sober up, so this meant we unfortunately missed Robin Laing (only found out he was playing after we left). Robin came down to Norwich to play at one of Dom’s tastings a couple of years ago, and he plays some fantastic whisky songs. “I love you A’bunah” comes to mind (especially after tasting the festival bottling). He also has a few Bruichladdich songs, including “Weapons of Mass Distraction” about the whole CIA incident. Last time we came to islay we stayed in port charlotte and every time we went past Bruichladdich we played it For anyone interested you can find out more here:
So all in all a fantastic event which you should not miss if you come to the festival, it was really well run and the people were lovely. Now, despite all that, I generally have a bit of a problem with Bruichladdich. I love what they do and everything about their set up, the artisan feel, the local produce, the general funkiness and islay-ness of it, means I really want to love it. But I just dont get on with their whisky. Apart from PC (which I absolutely love, I’ve bought 5 bottles of it) the rest leaves me a bit cold. I find it a bit one dimensional. My personal opinion is that I’m not keen on the pre closure whisky and the new brew is overpriced and needs a bit longer (note these are NOT the opinions of all WTC people, just Tony and Michelle’s). They erode my inate goodwill by charging me too much. Anyway, that leads to the Festival bottling which has just reinforced my opinion.
Bruichladdich Festival bottling is a 2004, 57.5 vol Fresh Sherry butt. There are 1060 bottles so presumably its a single cask. Its very sherry with a harsh young kick. It tastes like A’Bunadh with a slightly metallic edge. Its nice enough, but it comes in a 500 ml bottle. I was not really paying attention (I’m in financial denial) but I’ve just checked my credit card bill. A rug (£45) plus a 6 glasses (approx £15) + two bottles cost £172! Did I really pay £112 for 1 litre of 6 year old whisky? Was I overcharged? seems an incredible amount to charge to me.