So far I have managed no less than six distilleries in two days on the island, not bad but wow I'm a bit shattered! This is the last day I have organised tastings on the agenda then the last two days are about enjoying the culmination of Feis Ile 2015 agenda-free.
Today kicked off with a breakfast tasting of some incredible whiskies on the boat I’m staying on.
Highlights of the seven we tried were:
- A pre-royal warrant Laphroaig
- 28 Year Old Caol Ila and
- a crazy old SMWS dead distillery release – see photos below.
Then it was time to chill out for a few hours with a drive across the island for lunch at Bowmore overlooking the bay with the lovely new people I have sailed with this week.
Finally we headed to the Bowmore distillery for a tour and extra special tasting that included:
As my fifth distillery tour in two and a half days this was always going to be tough but the Bowmore distillery is fascinating and really quite unique… from three malting floors to the design of the various process components and machinery being quite different to their peers to celebrating the masters past with a plaque above each mash tun, a nice touch.
We went round fairly quickly then headed to a warehouse tasting in No. 1 Vaults where we sampled some ridiculous single cask whiskies hand drawn by distillery manager Dave right in front of us.
This happened to also be the oldest distillery warehouse on the island dating back to the late eighteenth century. Incredible.
Eventually leaving the distillery, via the shop, we drove cross country back to the ship to chill out, grab a shower, pack (although I’m really not sure how this case will stay shut or what weight it will be but hey ho).
The evening had some surprises in store…
Fresh lobster and crab for dinner… seen as the crew brought h it onto the vessel from the recently arrived trawler this morning.
Genuinely the best lobster I have ever had, definitely the most flavourful too, no question there
the rest of the evening was quite relaxed, the group all went to the pub, I walked along the beach and through the Port Ellen town them had a few final whiskies together on the deck.
After three nights on the ship I was gutted that this would be our last night together, the group have been great, Joe and Jonny could not have been better hosts.
Tomorrow I shall be sleeping in an armchair with a very generous friend of mine and all round whisky legend John.