The Whisky Tasting Club

Day 5. Weds 25th. Bowmore

Our plan had been to go to Colonsay today, but its not the weather for a boat trip, so it we stayed closer to home and after a walk in bridgend curtailed by a fallen tree, we went to the Bowmore and Islay Ale events.

The (affordable and obtainable) Bowmore festival bottling is a 15 year old cask strength sherry finish called Laimrig 

apparently it has been a special release before in two batches. The Feis Ile edition is a run of 500. Its too sherried for my palate, prefer the Tempest.

Bowmore have not always got their festival bottling strategy correct. You can still buy the 2008 and 2009 Feis Ile bottlings in their shop. They are 9 and 8 year old bottlings priced at £90 and £80. Clearly they were overpriced at the time, (or the run was too big). I remember thinking this was too expensive last year, but now I’m actually tempted to buy one! This year and last they have done two special bottlings, one short run, highly collectable older expression, one a relabelling of one of their “standard” limited editions (last year it was tempest). People queue at 2 am for the former and they appear on ebay at double the price the following day. The latter does not seem to generate much interest.

They seem to have the same strategy for their festival events: very expensive luxury tastings or standard tastings of their normal expressions. We cant afford the former and the latter does not really appeal, so we have not booked a formal event with them. However, we went along to see what they got up to.

For their open day Bowmore have a band and dram tent outside and a cocktail bar in their visitor centre. They give you a token for a dram and cocktail when you come in, but you have to pay for any more. The visitor centre is a nice space and taking a dram whilst looking over lochndal is one of the iconic islay experiences.

so a couple of drams later and we head off to islay square for the islay ale beer tent. It just a couple of tents with a bar in one and a folk band in the other, but it makes a change and the islay ales are pretty good. In addition to the brewery there are a range of craft shops based here.

A quieter day then, but fun all round. So the real issue of the day is the amount I am drinking! Michelle had a day off today, but I just cannot resist a free dram, so its Bowmore’s fault. Its made worse this year by the fact I dont have to drive and the weather not being good enough to go for long walks. I’m feeling the pace a bit, but feel it my duty to keep going. I will console myself with hollow promises to go on the wagon and diet when I get home. A likely story … whats up next?

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