The Whisky Tasting Club

Day 3: the Whisky Tasting Ceilidh

So Monday was our big night out.

In the evening we left arby to his own devices (much to his annoyance, sorry neighbours!) and got a taxi to Port Ellen for the  Ceilidh. There are only four taxis on islay: Carol MacDonald (07775782155); Stuart Doyle (0771921157); Fiona Livingstone (07808303200); and Lamont Campbell (07899756159). We were lucky that Carol was free, I would recommend you book in advance. Cost from Bridgend to Port Ellen was £21. The Whisky Tasting Ceilidh is held in the Ramsay Hall, a fairly small but quite attractive victorian hall. The night starts with a nosing competition. There is a stand for each of the distilleries (including Jura), and on each stand are 9 blue glasses containing a sample of each. There were also two new make spirits. The competition is to name each dram by smell alone. Its very difficult, to my shame I only got two right, and so did michelle. I also scoffed loads of their cheese and biscuits. The winner was from japan and impressively got 8 correct and won a load of whisky. Next time I will do some homework before I come.

I tried Kilchoman for the first time. Its  very peaty for sure, but it tastes very young and I think has an unpleasant barley aftertaste you often get with young whisky (the exception for me being the English Whisky, which seems to mature more quickly, it is very drinkable at 3 years old). To be sure its not fair to judge it on a small dram in a tiny plastic glass after several other whiskies and I’ll definitely try it again, but first impression is that I doubt I would buy it.I also drank several of the Islay ales. A very drinkable bitter.  

The nosing competition was fun, but the main reason we came down was because Dominic was on the island as a guest of Laphroaig and they were bringing him along to this event. Dom turned up around 10 with a posse of young PR ladies and it was great to see him here. He was certainly enjoying the junket. There was a scottish band with two blokes with unlikely curly black hair (think harry enfield scousers) who were rather impressed with themselves but played pleasant enough music. Found out dom has not been reading this blog because he doesnt know how to! He is a complete techno-dunce, I’ve emailed him a link. I’m hoping he will blog about his whole trip, especially the laphroaig day. 

After the band we nipped into the pub next door for a  further dram. We had a black bottle, I’d forgotten how drinkable it is, will pick up a bottle on friday, I like to have some blends in for when the peat all gets too much (for michelle, not happened to me yet!). We left at midnight, it all gets a bit blurry at this point, over 12 hours of drinking does that to you.  I think dom and I set the worlds to rights. Our maxim for the holiday was hard walking and hard drinking, and we certainly fulfilled that yesterday. Our legs will be rock solid and our livers pickled :) Yesterday I tasted Caol Ila (cask strength and festival bottling), Laphroaig (10, 10 cask strength, quarter cask minatures from the gathering whilst on the beach), Kilchoman, Ardbeg, Bunnahaven and Lagavulin (at the Ceilidh) and Black Bottle (in the pub). That is some haul! Throw in a few beers and a glass of wine with lunch, its no wonder I feel a bit rough today…

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