Wednesday 23 April 2014

.3 - Malting - 2013

Bruichladdich sunshine
A smooth boat ride to Islay on the first true morning of our vacation brought us to the magical island. We landed on Lagavulin day, but missed most of that because we needed to check in to the bothy first. Our real start would be the Sunday: Bruichladdich day. We could not have wished for anything better; Jim McEwan’s 50th anniversary in the business was celebrated with a master class from Bruichladdich’s master himself, and with the weather granting all of us a good time too, we easily fell in love (again) with the distillery. What’s not to love about them?

Ansgar had just weeks before started her blog with her own tasting notes and experiences, and we both had posted a piece on the day and evening that got picked up by Bruichladdich on their website. Our first big repost by a distillery, is that cool, or what..?

Lagavulin smiles
Traditionally, during Feis Ile the distilleries have their own day on which they organise their festivities, and during the week most have small events and special tours planned anyway, so we decided not to join the crowds every day but relax, have a dram and just go with what we both felt like at that particular moment. We did some tours we had not done the year before, or did some a second (or third) time. We met with old acquaintances and made some new friends. Fun times...

Driving around on Islay is great. The natives all wave at each other – one finger in the air coming loose from the steering wheel, a whole hand freeing itself from whatever it was doing, or waving excitedly (mostly us, the tourists) – everybody has their own version. It is a habit that you pick up easily and at the end of one week, you will have developed your own wave. 

them sheep are fast, just missed 'em
Even the (many) sheep on the island have their way of greeting the cars on the roads. Unable to wave, they look at the upcoming cars stoically chewing a fresh mouthfull of grass, waiting for the perfect timing to signal the entire flock to cross the road at the exact moment one of the tourists’ cars is still close enough to break, but making sure the tourist at the driver seat at least has the need of clean underwear. That being said, some tourists think the roads on the island are just like the German Autobahn (which they are definitely not) and some sheep can be seen with suspicious brown bands on their fleece. Back at ya sheep...

Lunch on the island can be had in many places, and one should try the burgers at the Holy Coo Bistro, at least have the day’s special from the menu of the bar at the Kilchoman distillery and come back often enough to complete everything from the menu at the Ardbeg distillery. We had chosen to have dinner at the bothy most of the days, but eating out is also very well to do in different places, where one will surely end up in one of the bars that are mostly close to, or at the same location of the restaurants. Islay being a whisky (and birds) island, the bars have a wide choice of Islay and non-Islay whisky (but, strangely enough, not birds) menus.

breathtaking scenery of Islay 

Next stop: the beautiful Isle of Arran.

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