#IslayRoadTrip Day 2 Review
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.