The Ladies’ Share on Islay – day 2 – Lagavulin, Bowmore, Kilchoman and Bruichladdich
Rachel (Wild and Magic Islay) picked us up after breakfast Thursday 15 September 2016. The first stop that day was Lagavulin Distillery where Sara (at 09:30am!) took us through five glasses of Lagavulin, each paired with different chocolates. I prefer to enjoy new whiskies without the interference of other smells and tastes. Since I had tasted the first four whiskies many times already, I decided to give the whisky and chocolate pairing a try. I tried Jazz without the chocolate when I did my tasting notes. The whiskies:
- Lagavulin 16 YO, 43 ABV – matured in bourbon casks and added caramel colour.
- Lagavulin Distillers Edition, 43 ABV, distilled 1998 – matured in bourbon casks for 16 years and then 3-6 months in Pedro Ximenex sherry casks, no colour added.
- Lagavulin 8 YO, 48 ABV – released for the 200th Anniversary of Lagavulin, a one-off, available world wide, American Oak bourbon casks.
- Lagavulin 12 YO Special Release 2015, 56,8 ABV – American Oak bourbon casks (my review).
- Lagavulin Jazz Festival 2016, 54,5 ABV – NAS, refill and first-fill bourbon casks (my review).
To me it was only Jazz improving with the chocolate. The other Ladies liked some of the combinations!
The Kildalton Cross
After our breakfast drams, it certainly was nice to enjoy coffee and cakes at the Kildalton Cross.
A quick visit at Bowmore Distillery Shop
On our way from one side of the island to the other, Rachel arranged for us to spend some minutes at Bowmore Distillery Shop. We browsed through the ground floor before heading upstairs to the bar ? Distillery Manager David Turner welcomed us and served us the latest and the previous hand-filled at the distillery. They were very different. Lucky for the club: One Lady bought the latest hand-filled and one Lady bought the previous one! There might be a Bowmore tasting coming up.
Well, after this brief and nice visit, we had to move on to our next post on the agenda that day:
We started our visit at Kilchoman Distillery in the restaurant having lunch. When we were done, Leah took us on a distillery tour. I did not do a tour at Kilchoman when I visited Islay last year, so this was new to me as well. The tour started in the floor malting room where Leah served us Kilchoman 100 % Islay Release 6th Edition (my review of 4th Release). They only use their own malted barley for this whisky and the peat level is at 25 ppm. All the other whiskies are made from barley malted to 50 ppm at Port Ellen Maltings. It was very interesting to see Kilchoman Distillery after seeing Laphroaig Distillery the day before. Of course the distilling process is mostly the same in every distillery, but the size of the distillery and number of stills were very different.
After the tour Leah took us through a tasting:
- Kilchoman New Spirit 69 ABV.
- Kilchoman Machir Bay, 46 ABV – 5 YO, 90 percent bourbon casks and 10 percent Oloroso sherry casks.
- Kilchoman Sanaig, 46 ABV – 5 and 6 YO, Oloroso sherry casks, both butt and hogshead – review will be available soon.
- Kilchoman Loch Gorm, 46 ABV – 5th Edition, 6 YO, Oloroso sherry casks (my review of 1st Edition).
- Kilchoman Sauternes Cask, 50 ABV – fully matured in Sauternes cask for five years – review will be available soon.
I forgot to mention one thing from the tour: When we arrived at the filling station, the guys were working on Sanaig and Leah gave us a taste straight from the hose! We love cask strength! When we told Leah most of us prefer Cask Strength whiskies, she said: “Once you’ve gone cask strength, you can’t go back” ? Which is (almost) true.
A quick visit at Bruichladdich Distillery Shop
We were very happy from the great tour at Kilchoman, as Rachel took us to Bruichladdich Distillery Shop – our last stop for the day. Shop and tour guide Ashley welcomed us, and oh!, what a lovely visit this turned out to be! We tasted three Port Charlottes and three Octomores and finished off with The Botanist (gin). A couple of us bought the Bruichladdich PHD_135 Feis Ile 2016. It was really good.
Swimming and dining in Bowmore
When Rachel dropped us off at The Saddlers, we were all quite “high” on all the happenings that day and wanted to relax before dinner. Well, a couple of us wanted to repeat the lovely swim from the day before. We brought our house whisky, Laphroaig 10 YO Cask strength, and glasses to the beach. We enjoyed a whisky before heading into the water. Then we thought: Why not have a nice, warm dram while we are IN the water? And so we did. Wow, what a great experience.
We all dined at the Harbour Inn that evening, a lovely seafood restaurant just a short walk from The Saddlers. Some of us finished the evening at Bowmore Hotel, drinking whiskies and talking with some Swedish guys in the bar.
The first whisky club for women visiting Islay?
Rachel told us we were the first whisky club for women visiting Islay. At least that is what she thinks and there was no one else at the distilleries remembering a female whisky club ever had visited. Cool!
What a day… We were thrilled with Rachel’s planning and organising! And we were full of impressions and experiences from four Islay distilleries in one day!
I will be back with a full report from day 3 as well.
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