#IslayRoadTrip Day 2

Day 2 (ish) of the #IslayRoadTrip with Steve (@steveprentice) from Somerset Whisky Blog and Jon (@dvdbloke) from Scotch and Sci-fi started with a fantastic fry up sorted by the lovely Margaret and Helen (who i insisted was called Heather).

We then fired along to Bowmore distillery (distillery 5) for our VIP tour which was hosted by none other than Bowmore legend and Master Distiller Eddie MacAffer,

We had a look around where the water comes in, from a 7 mile long hand dug canal no less, before heading into the distillery for the tour. Some magic moments include having a go at doing the malting ourselves before standing at the back of the peat kiln and feeling just how hot the heat reclaim function is.

We spent a good while with Eddie who was more than happy to chat, give his opinion and show us some of the more interesting parts of the distillery which was a real treat, we then moved into the No1 Vaults to taste a couple of drams straight from the cask (an ex bourbon, then an ex sherry - notes below) before he helped the three of us bottle our own handfill (review below).

A brilliant experience with a very very knowledgable man, if you ever get the chance to do a tour with Eddie, you will not be disappointed.






Some Bowmore Barley


Eddie showing he still has skills


Steve would happily have slept here




Straight from the cask, the way it should be

We then left Bowmore and made our way over to Kilchoman (distillery 6) where we really just stopped for lunch, we didnt do a tour here just lunch (the Cullin Skink below) and picked up some stuff from the shop.


Cullin Skink at Kilchoman Cafe.

We then made our way, a bit too speedily for me, across the single track roads back to Bruichladdich (distillery 7) for our tour there.

Our tour at Bruichladdich being a bit special as we were looked after by Carl and Lynton who look after all the social media and internet presences for Bruichladdich so it was great to chat with the guys and our tour was very much personal, intimate and behind the scenes.

Looking down into the barley hoppers was a personal highlight even though i hate heights and getting to see Ugly Betty which produces the fabulous Botanist Gin was also a great thing.

We spend a good while wandering around the distillery with the guys, before a few drams from the casks in Warehouse 2, I didn't take any notes here as my intention was to simply enjoy the drams and not get too wound up about having notes. The warehouse was special though as we tasted Botanist Gin that has been matured in a Mouton Rothschild cask and was most definitely pink and very very drinkable straight (honestly guys can i buy a bottle of this NOW please?), then some 1986 ex sherry cask, then 1985 fresh bourbon cask, then a fabulous Octomore 5/6yr virgin french oak which utterly blew me away.

We then had a number of other drams in the visitors centre along with some beers we had bought, some scrumpy and Somerset Apple Cider Brandy, along with a chat with James from Octomore farm and an unfortunate inicident with the Valinch cask.

Overall a brilliant day out, Bruichladdich is a distillery you really must visit, the guys and girls here really care about their whisky and it's very much all about making a quality product not about the quantity they can produce.




A barley Heart in Bruichladdich


Bruichladdich Wash, tasty stuff




Beautiful Still, gorgeous Gin


Steve taking a wee pic


Bruichladdich''s face of Social Media Carl.


Jon, James from Octomore Farm and Steve

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying a few more beers and drams back at the cottage and getting ready for Day 3

For Day 2 (ish) I would like to thank the guys at Bowmore and Bruichladdich for their hospitality and for treating us to a very special time away.


Bowmore Handfill Ex Bordeaux

Bowmore handfill Part of the Bowmore tasting in No1 Vaults with Eddie MacAffer after our tour during the #IslayRoadTrip with Steve (@steveprentice) from Somerset Whisky Blog and Jon (@dvdbloke) from Scotch and Sci-fi (pictured with an unlabelled handfill)

After our really in depth and knowledgable tour with Eddie we stopped into the No1 Vaults for a quick dram valinched straight from the cask before moving to the handfill where we all took bottles of this lovely dram.

Thanks again to Eddie at Bowmore for the awesome and in depth tour and for the wonderful tasting.

 

initially for me theres a short sharp hit of vinegary red wine, this disappears quickly though and is replaced with an earthy hint of sweet smoke and rich dark chocolate covered strawberries and raspberries with a hint of fresh ginger and banana cake

smoky and charcoaly are the first notes before sweet berries jump in and are coated in the gentle smoke, lots of fresh raspberries and strawberries.

a hint of spice and lots of red fruits

Bottle Name: Bowmore Handfill Ex Bordeaux
Age: 16
ABV: 56.90
Distiller: Bowmore
Bottler: Bowmore
Type: Single Cask Single Malt
From: Scotland, Islay


Bowmore Straight From The Cask 1997 ex Sherry

Bowmore Ex sherry Cask Part of the Bowmore tasting in No1 Vaults with Eddie MacAffer after our tour during the #IslayRoadTrip with Steve (@steveprentice) from Somerset Whisky Blog and Jon (@dvdbloke) from Scotch and Sci-fi

After our really in depth and knowledgable tour with Eddie we stopped into the No1 Vaults for a quick dram valinched straight from the cask as we then moved onto this 1997 (17 year old) ex sherry cask.

Thanks again to Eddie at Bowmore for the awesome and in depth tour and for the wonderful tasting.

 

initially i'm struck by quite strong note of jammy goodness with sweet and gentle stewed mixed fruits of redcurrant and plum and hint of light wood smoke again in the background

gentle red currants and plum with sugary fruits mix with hints of smoke and toffee

theres a bit of a kick of spice on the finish here.

Bottle Name: Bowmore Straight From The Cask 1997 ex Sherry
Age: 1997 Vintage
ABV: 54.00
Distiller: Bowmore
Bottler: Bowmore
Type: Single Cask Single Malt
From: Scotland, Islay


Bowmore Straight From The Cask 2000 ex Bourbon

Bowmore Ex Bourbon Cask Part of the Bowmore tasting in No1 Vaults with Eddie MacAffer after our tour during the #IslayRoadTrip with Steve (@steveprentice) from Somerset Whisky Blog and Jon (@dvdbloke) from Scotch and Sci-fi

After our really in depth and knowledgable tour with Eddie we stopped into the No1 Vaults for a quick dram valinched straight from the cask as we started with this lovely 2000 vintage (14 year old) from an ex bourbon cask.

Thanks again to Eddie at Bowmore for the awesome and in depth tour and for the wonderful tasting.

 

The nose begins with some real creamy buttery notes with some gentle banana loaf notes with a hint of gentle wood burning smoke, some foam bananas in there too

The taste is rich banana cake with a vanilla butter sauce and lots of toffee creeping in

sweet and vanilla fill the rest of the finish

Bottle Name: Bowmore Straight From The Cask 2000 ex Bourbon
Age: 2000 Vintage
ABV: 56.00
Distiller: Bowmore
Bottler: Bowmore
Type: Single Cask Single Malt
From: Scotland, Islay


Bruichladdich Valinch 07 (Andy Ritchie)

Bruichladdich Valinch 7I picked up my bottle of this Bruichladdich Valinch 07 (Andy Ritchie) back in August when on my #IslayRoadTrip with Steve (@steveprentice) from Somerset Whisky Blog and Jon (@dvdbloke) from Scotch and Sci-fi .

There is a story to tell about spilling some of this, but we won't go into that here, however this whisky is fabulous, aged for 24 years in total, some of that being an enhancement in an ex Rioja cask it's given it some fabulous flavours.

I opened my bottle pretty much a week or so after returning from Islay and finished it last night, and thats me just getting round to writing notes as everytime i went to write notes i enjoyed it so much i forgot to do notes and just sat sipping instead, really wish i'd bought 2.

 

Sweet and honeyed, fruity chewits and starburst with gentle Christmas spices and Demerara sugar mixing with some lovely oak wood notes and sweet tannic notes almost lightly brewed sugared black tea and sugar coated black grapes

Gentle honey and game meat notes subside to let in lightly Brewers sugary black tea, fruit chewits, grapes, some malt loaf and raisins with a hint of spiced chutney

Dry, sweet, sugary, fruity, Awesome

Bottle Name: Bruichladdich Valinch 07 (Andy Ritchie)
Age: 24
ABV: 51.40
Distiller: Bruichladdich
Bottler: Bruichladdich
Type: Single Cask Single Malt
From: Scotland, Islay


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