Yeah, it’s this time of the year, the time for the annual post of the Feis Ile Festival bottles, especially when we finally see some information out there.
This year, the festival will run from late May into June 2018 (25th May to 2nd June 2018).
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 and you can find the full Islay Festival Distillery Programmes 2018 here when it will be published.
It’s a safe bet that just like previous years, we will have more Feis Ile bottlings from other independent bottlers and other sources – all will be updated in the post when the information will be released.
25/05/2018 – Bruichladdich and Cooper’s Choice and Islay House Festival bottles were added
23/05/2018 – Lagavulin and Caol Ila Festival bottles were added
21/05/2018 – Kilchoman Festival bottle was added
17/05/2018 – Dramfool Festival bottles reviewed
13/05/2018 – Finlaggan Festival bottle was added
02/05/2018 – Spirit Still Festival bottle was added
01/05/2018 – Douglas Laing Big Peat Feis bottle was added
29/04/2018 – Dramfool Festivals bottles were added
27/04/2018 – Updated SMWS section
22/04/2018 – Bowmore Feis Ile 2018 bottles were added
19/04/2018 – Bunnahabhain Feis Ile 2018 bottles were added
11/04/2018 – Possible Bruichladdich Feis Ile 2018 bottling info was added
08/04/2018 – Hunter Laing line up added
06/03/2018 – SMWS Caol Ila added
So here’s the list of Feis Ile 2018 bottlings and the available information:
Lagavulin – Open day on Saturday 26th May 2018
- Lagavulin 18 Year Old (53.9%,£130 , 6,000 bottles)
Marriage of refill and rejuvenated American Oak Hogsheads and ex Bodega European Oak Butts.
Bruichladdich – Open day on Sunday 27th May 2018
- Port Charlotte “The Heretic” 2001 (55.9%, £125, 1300 bottles)
“The Last of the First”: The very last five casks from Port Charlotte’s first year of distillation in 2001. Adam has carefully married these five casks which previously held either American whiskey, rum or fine French wine. Limited to 1300 bottles, the Heretic is bottled at 55.9% abv. and will be available for £125.
- Port Charlotte 2005, The Distillery Valinch 50cl (59.3%, 956 bottles, £75)
A single cask bottling of the heavily-peated Port Charlotte spirit; distilled in 2005 and matured all its life in an Oloroso sherry butt. The Distillery Valinch is limited to 956 hand-numbered bottles. It’s been bottled at £59.3% abv, and will be available for £75
Caol Ila – Open day on Monday 28th May 2018
- Caol Ila 10 Year Old (58.2%, £100, 2,496 bottles)
Matured in Refill American Oak Hogsheads and Rejuvenated European Oak Butts.
Laphroaig – Open day on Tuesday 29th May 2018
- Laphroaig Cairdeas 2018 (Fino Cask finish) – (51.8%, Available May/June 2018)
Matured in first-fill bourbon casks before being double matured in Fino Sherry casks, this unique expression uses barrier filtration to create a liquid that has notes of toasted almonds, dried fruit and sea salt — perfectly complementing Laphroaig’s signature peaty flavour
Bowmore – Open day on Wednesday 30th May 2018
- Bowmore Feis Ile 2018 (£85, 3000 bottles, max 2 bottles per transaction)
A marriage of fine Oloroso casks, 1500 bottles will be available from Saturday 26th 10am and the other 1500 on Bowmore Open Day 30th May from 10am
- Bowmore Vintage Feis Ile 2018 (£400, 212 bottles, 1 per person)
A 1989 28 Year Old Bourbon cask
- No Bowmore BYO this year
Jura – Open day on Thursday 31st May 2018
Kilchoman – Open day on Thursday 31st May 2018
Bourbon barrels 34, 65, 82 & 83 from 2007 that were filled in March of that year, making this an 11 year old release. Available on 31st May 2018 10am onwards. one bottle available per person.
Bunnahabhain – Open day on Friday 1st June 2018
As usual, Bunnahabhain Feis Ile 2018 line up contains two bottles:
- Bunnahabhain 2007 Moine Olorosso (59.5%, £95, 1881 bottles)
Colour: Deep rose gold
Nose: Dried fruit, creamy toffee and chocolate blended with spicy, smoky peatiness
Palate: Sweet, fills the mouth with fig and raisin, honeyed nuts, pepper and wood smoke
Finish: Sweet, mildly smoky, long and lingering
- Bunnahabhain 2002 Spanish Oak Finish (58.2%, £250, 1458 bottles)
Note: Spanish brandy casks.
Nose: Oak with grape and dried fruits, toffee, nuts and subtle spice
Palate: Coats the mouth with rich Spanish brandy and dark chocolate, lightly oaked and gently spiced
Finish: Sweet grape and subtle spice, long and lingering
Ardbeg – Open day on Saturday 2rd June 2018
- Ardbeg Grooves (46%)
SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society)
Seems like the SMWS Feis bottlings from last year year were a huge success as they are gearing up for another Feis Ile bottlings. Two labels from two Islay distilleries popped up at the TTB database. We can assume that the bottles will be available, online at https://www.smws.com/ and at the Society’s UK venues sometimes late May or early June.
- 3.307 A journey into Joy (Bowmore, 20 Year Old, 55.9%, 564 bottles)
- 29.241 A perfect moment (Laphroaig, 20 Year Old, 49.3%, 222 bottles, available on Islay only
- 53.252 Smoky incarnations (Caol Ila, 11 Year Old, 57.8%, 317 bottles)
In addition to those 3 special bottles, there are a few more Islay bottles coming out to celebrate the festival (and 2 Speysiders for Spirit of Speyside fesitval. Here’s the full list:
Islay (for Feis Ile)
- 3.307: A journey into joy (20-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 3.308: A maritime meander (13-years-old)
- 10.141: Indulgence by the sea (12-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 10.146: Sweet smoky succulent sensation (9-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 29.241: A perfect moment (20-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 29.244: Weaving wondrous dreams (8-years-old) – available on Islay only
- 53.248: Slapped by Poseidon’s glove (11-years-old)
- 53.252: Smoky incarnations (11-years-old)
Speyside (for Spirit of Speyside Festival)
- 9.143: Graceful gravitas (21-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 107.13: Andalusian gazpacho (9-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- The Kinship series
Just like last year Hunter Laing releases another set of bottles in the Kinship series with Ardnahoe distillery opening coming later this year. But unlike last year, not all bottles come from Islay distilleries but they are all coastal whiskies:
- Highland Park 21yo, 51.4% (2 Hogsheads w/ 6 months Sherry butt finishing) £195
- Springbank 25 yo, 53.7% (Sherry butt) £495
- Jura 26yo, 52.7% (Refill Hogshead) £198
- Bowmore 21yo 53.2% (2 Refill Hogsheads) £150
- Bunnahabhain 30yo, 52.8% (2 Sherry Hogsheads) £330
- Laphroaig 20yo, 55.2% (2 Refill Hogsheads) £285
This year we have a new player in the Festival bottles market. Dramfool, a Scottish independent bottler released a Spirit of Speyside exclusive bottling:
A 22 year old Speyside 1995 ex-sherry butt 55.0% to be released on Thursday. It will be available at The Dufftown Whisky Fair 10:00-17:00 on Saturday 5th May for £95 (Spirit of Speyside Exclusive).
But more important (and related to the topic of this post) are the news that there are two Islay Whisky Festival exclusives (Not using the now-trademarked Feis Ile moniker). All Festival bottles will go live on Dramfool.com just before their respective festivals (or just contact them via email or Dramfool Facebook page
It’s a 150ppm 6 year old Octomore 2011 from ex-bourbon barrel (Simon Coughlin’s cask). Reviewed here.
- Port Charlotte 2001 Islay Whisky Festival Exclusive (58.3%, £95)
It’s a 15 year old Port Charlotte 2001 ex-bourbon hogshead. Reviewed here.
- Big Peat Feis Ile 2018 (48%, £49.99, 3000 bottles)
Packed with sooty, smoky, meaty charm.
The gift tube comes complete with a number of illustrated stickers, for you to personalise your own individual bottle.
Big Peat Feis Ile 2018 Limited Edition is available from May from specialist Scotch Whisky retailers globally.
- Old Particular Bunnahabhain 2005 Feis Ile 2018 (48.4%, £67.5, 384 bottles)
Exclusive bottling for Islay Whisky Shop. distilled October 2005, filled into cask DL12519 and bottled April 2018 for Feis Ile 2018
The Spirit Still
Spirit Still is a new Independent bottler bottling premium whiskies appealing to connoisseurs and collectors alike. Currently they are offering exclusive bottles for Spirit of Speyside and Islay Festivals.
- Islay Malt 9 Year Old “Like a Villian” (52%, £100, 108 bottles)
The “Like a Villain” is a bourbon matured Kildalton Single Malt finished in a Cotes du Rhône butt for 6 months. It was distilled in 2008, and is 9 years old. Bottled unchillfiltered at cask strength of 52.0%. 108 bottles available
- Finlaggan 2009 Feis Ile 2018 (50%, £60, 700 bottles)
Vintage 2009, bottled April 2018 (8 Year Old), available exclusively from The Islay Whisky Shop in Bowmore.
- Cooper’s Choice Feis Ile 2018 Smoke Bomb (56%, £55, 780 bottles)
Cask Ref: 9011, Bottled 2018. Finished in a fresh sherry butt from Jerez, this delectable dram contains all the complex smoky peaty flavours which are the hallmark of the very finest Islay Whiskies.
- Islay House Feis Ile 2018 (58%, 281 bottles)
From Bruichladich cask 17/154-16, matured in bourbon then oloroso and px sherry then finally bourbon again. Distilled 27.02.2008 so practically it’s a 10 year old whisky.
Man. The Bunna prices are steep this year. Bit disappointing with the offerings tbh.
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There’s also a Cooper’s Choice Feis Ile 2018 Smoke Bomb – look out for this over the next few days
Would love to hear more about it so I can update the post… email me: yoav (at) whiskygospel.com
I found this information –
This single malt was distilled at one of Islay finest distilleries. The exact source remains a closely guarded secret. Matured in American oak with additional aging in a Sherry Cask.
Cask Ref: 9011, Bottled 2018
Carefully chosen from our quietly ageing stocks, this delicious Single Cask was distilled at one of Islay’s finest distilleries and bottled to celebrate Feis Isle 2018. One of only 720 bottles, finished in a fresh sherry butt from Jerez, this delectable dram contains all the complex smoky peaty flavours which are the hallmark of the very finest Islay Whiskies.
Nose: A real smoke bomb! Sweet peat smoke. Old leather. Sea salt and sherry
Palate: Rich and peaty. Lovely sweet peat smoke. Soot. Fruity sherry notes. Iodine and leather. Touch of tobacco
Finish: Long with more smoke. Ashes of the peat fire