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Welcome the 2020 edition Feis Ile bottles comprehensive guide!
Once again we’re starting early (before we turned the calendar page to 2020) as we gathered enough information to share with you.
In 2020, the festival will run from 22nd May 2020 to 30th May 2020.
This post will detail all the available information on the festival bottles and I’ll update it each time more details will be revealed.
If you look for the full festival information, go to the Festival site at islayfestival.com (But best to wait until Spring 2020 to see the 2020 updates) and you will be able to find the full Islay Festival Distillery Programmes 2020 here when it will be published.
Once again It’s a safe bet that just like in previous years, we will have a lot of Feis Ile bottlings from independent bottlers, even if many will not be using the trademarked ‘Feis Ile’ name – all will be updated in the post when the information will be released.
09/12/2019 – Initial release with SMWS and Ardbeg sections
So here’s the list of Feis Ile 2020 bottlings and the available information:
Lagavulin – Open day on Saturday 22nd May 2020
Earlier this year when I saw the news on a forthcoming Laphroaig 16 Year Old I was very happy to speculate that a new core line up expression is coming but at the same time was a bit worried following the latest official releases were I found out to be a bit average or disappointing (Yeah, 4 Oak, Lore and 1815 I do look at you).
My speculating was proved to be wrong as this is a limited edition and an Amazon exclusive in Europe. If you live in the USA, you fare better as it’s available at different retailers and isn’t an Amazon exclusive (probably due to the very complex system of taxes on alcohol between states).
But even if I was wrong on the release and was disappointed from recent official releases, I did have high hopes for this release based on my experience of the previous (yet different) 16 Year Old Release from 2015 (the 200th Anniversary one). But it’s ex-bourbon casks and it’s bottled at higher abv of 48% so let’s stay optimistic and hope it’ll pan out just fine:
Laphroaig 16 Year Old (2019) (48%, £89/€94,70/$139.99)
Nose: Big peaty and coastal nose. Peat smoke, sea breeze, the return of medicinal Laphroaig with iodine, TCP and bandages, honey, very crisp, more peat smoke. After a few minutes green fruits, ripe and unripe apples, kiwi, more honey and sweet peat with medicinal notes in the backseat along with hints of tropical fruits. Continue reading
Yesterday we checked out the Bunnahabhain 2007 Brandy Cask Finish which was good but I felt was missing something to be a special offering and today we’ll check his twin – the Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old Port Pipe Finish.
This whisky spent almost full 9 years in refill hogsheads and then was finished for 2 more years in Portuguese port pipes. Only 1578 bottles were made at abv of 55.3%.
Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old Port Pipe Finish (55.3%, €159)
Nose: Sweet nose, red fruits with plums, sour-sweet red berries, blueberries, roses, honey, vanilla, oily and heavy. After a few minutes the berries legion is led with raspberries mixed up with a few strawberries, hints of spice and white pepper, cinnamon and hard candies. Continue reading
This year, Distill collection contained 3 Bunnahabhain releases and for the first time in a few years none of the special releases is peated.
The first one we check out is a 11 Year Old Bunnahabhain from 2007 that was finished in French Brandy casks before being bottled at 52.5%
Can it live up to the expectations of previous years releases?
Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old French Brandy Finish (52.5%, £109/€149.90)
Nose: Somewhat dry and quite oily, A very airy feeling like we’re sniffing it from afar time does the trick and the it’s getting stronger and bolder: grapes, a bit of smokiness (and no, it’s not a Moine release), sultanas, sweet honey, pears and peaches, beeswax. After a few more minutes, soft and gentle peat, nuts and honeyed grapes. Fruit blossoms perfume. Continue reading
Earlier this year (2 months ago to be precise), Milk & Honey distillery has released their Founder’s Edition whisky, a limited edition of 1000 bottles for those who participated in their crowd funding campaign six years ago. I was fortunate to think ahead and invest in the campaign and get some bottles home.
This is the first official release of whisky distilled at the distillery, excluding the Bottle-Your-Own offering at the distillery. The timing for the release was crucial. It had to prelude the single casks releases for the festivals season and the first core line up official whisky offering coming up real soon (before 2019 ends).
This release ‘recipe’ is STR and ex-bourbon casks, finished in Kosher sherry cask before being bottled at 57%.
M&H Founder’s Edition (57%, 1000 bottles)
Nose: Red fruits, the STR cask is dominant at first with tannins and red wine. Cereals, honeyed peaches, a bit of chocolate (with some charred cask smoke). After a few minutes the PX finish enters the stage with more dried fruit and chocolate but the honey, cereals and gentle wine are the backbone of this whisky. Continue reading
In the wake of the news of the forthcoming Ardbeg Blaaack (An Ardbeg Comittee for 2020, possibly Ardbeg day release), it’s a good idea to review one of Ardbeg releases and one that was eagerly expected by Ardbeg fans for years – Ardbeg 19 Traigh Bhan.
I remember myself waiting patiently over the years for a new core line-up Ardbeg with a higher age statement from the new regime stock. But when the opportunity to release a new 15,17 (now that could be something – a rebirth of the 17!) or 18 year old expressions has passed without new releases, but then we got the 19 year old.
The new 19 year old Traigh Bhan is now part of the core line-up but it will be produced as an annual batch of unknown count of bottles. What really tickled my curiosity was the fact they said each batch will be slightly different from each other. It dawned on me that Ardbeg are victims of their own success where almost everything they produce goes towards the 10/Uigeadail/Corryvreckan and there’s not enough mature stock from the first years to produce a consistent mature release.
Or maybe they didn’t want to release it but caved under the market and beans counter demands to produce an older expression to sell for a higher price tag?
Either way, I wasn’t going to let this release pass without checking it out!
Ardbeg 19 Traigh Bhan (46.2%, £219.99/€192/$258)
Nose: A modern Ardbeg – you cannot really compare it to old regime Ardbeg expressions like ANB or Ardeg 17. Peat smoke, lemon, a very classical and toned down 10yo at first, honey, lime, yuzu, exotic far east citrus , brioche, soft and sweet peat and soot, a bit coastal with sea breeze, chimney smoke and almonds. Continue reading
In the last few years we’ve seen a huge number of sherried 2007 Vintage Glenlivet casks bottled by Signatory and they became oh so very popular that it’s time I’ll review one of those. Our ‘victim’ is cask #900242 that bottled by Signatory under The Un-Chillfiltered Collection brand at 46%
The sherry butt was filled on 10/04/2007 and bottled 27/02/2019 and at the diluated ABV of 46% it yielded 887 bottles.
Glenlivet 2007 11 Year Old Cask #900242 (46%, £55/₪280)
Nose: Soft dried fruit, cereals, milk chocolate, raspberries and blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and soft oak spice. After a few minutes there’s a darker shade of chocolate with extra cocoa, dried cherries and strawberries, berries perfume. Continue reading