The last festival that I went to was Glastonbury 2005. On day one of the festival, the weather gods decided to throw a whole months rain at the site in less than five hours. The results of this were as follows: rivers through campsites, flooded toilets, extreme amounts of mud and an inability to sit down for the next four days. We had a great time, but by the end we were so exhausted that we swore not to return unless we could either stay in a B&B or bring a camper van with us.
Festivals are great, but there is always an element of survival involved too. The Ying and Yang of enjoyment and toil, which brings me neatly to this Bowmore Feis Ile. For those that are uninitiated, Feis Ila (Pronounced Faysh Eel) is an annual festival that takes place on the Scottish Island of Islay. It celebrates everything that the island has to offer, which when the island has eight distilleries currently producing whisky, with at least three more starting in the next few years, is a large amount about whisky!
Price: £150-200 – Only available now on the secondary market, through auctions and hard to find whisky sites.
Appearance: A deep mahogany, like an antique cabinet.
Aroma: Apples, Golden Sugar, Oats, Salty Sea Air and Oak.
Taste: This dram is initially full of a salty note, that reminded me of the smell of seaweed and the taste left of the lips after a dip in the cold British sea. As you drink more this initial flavour combines with a brown sugar sweetness, which gives the opening notes a pleasant sweet and saline blend.
As the dram develops in the mouth, there is an enveloping warming fruity black pepper spice, which tingles the lips, whilst hitting the top of the palate and dropping backwards. This part of the dram drinks heavily under the influence of the wine and sherry cask mix. On one hand its fruity, on the other rich and dark with tannins.
The finish is wooden, warming and long. It’s a dark and definitely reminded me of antique oak. There are tannins, but as with he middle notes they are balanced by sweetness and stone fruit.
Mouthfeel: Thick, Saline and Long.
Overall: Bowmore had up until the point that I tried this dram, been a brand that I had been firmly disappointed by. The whiskies that I had tried from their core range had largely disappointed me and left me with no love for a spirit that I think should be a firm favourite, given my love of peated whiskies. This dram is so good, that I am now worried that I missed something first time around. It has oodles of character and firmly displays the key triad of terroir of the distillery, the quality of the spirit and the casking that the dram has been aged in. We were incredibly lucky to win this bottle and I have been pleased to share it with friends and family. Each and every person has blown away by the quality and it has left both them and me needing to really reassess a whole distilleries output.
Real Dram Factor: 8.9 – One of my favourite drams of all time.
Source: We won this dram in a Nicholls and Perks competition.
More Information: www.bowmore.com
Buy Online: Nickolls and Perks – 70cl – £180.00