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Islay Malt & Music Festival 2009 – Day 5

Wednesday 27th May 2009 and we move onto day five of the Islay Malt and Music Festival, and there are now four for breakfast, Jim, Jacqueline Iain and our latest arrival Nicola. The morning got off to a humerous start where Nicola (Jim’s daughter) decided to put his left over Whisky from the night before in a fresh glass on the breakfast table so he would assume it was apple juice. As he raised it to his mouth we could hardly contain ourselves – it just shows you the power of the mind as he took a large gulp he didn’t even smell the Whisky, but boy did he respond when it hit his taste buds.

The plan for the day was discussed over copious amounts of tea and coffee. The intention was to head for Bruichladdich for the pre booked 10.00 ish distillery tour, moving onto the brewery open day at Islay House Square, Bridgend with a final destination at the Bowmore Distillery open day (does this day not sound joyous) !

Well off we set on the short journey to Bruichladdich. On arrival at the Distillery Shop we had an enthusiastic welcome from the charming ladies who look after the shop. As they say in Scotland – “we had a right good blether” prior to commencing the tour. The tour was informative and light hearted delivered by ? Julie XXXX. While on the tour we encountered one of the stillmen who was a casualty of the fabulous open day and had the war wounds to show where his face had met the road when exiting from his car p.s. as a passenger.

The tour was finished off with some excellent hospitality with the tasting of Bruichladdich Rocks and Bruichladdich Waves. There was then a bit of a flurry for the tour visitors wanting to purchase their own bottles. Jim bought a bottle of Bruichladdich Peat and Iain bought a bottle Bruichladdich Bottle of Yellow Submarine (he is a submariner in the Navy Reserve).

Jim and Nicola took a photo opportunity when they met with Jim McEwan, Bruichladdich’s Production Director and Jim (Whisky Boy) started a conga line requesting that Jim (Bruichladdich) sign their bottle. Nothing like having a personalised bottle. We spend quite a time chatting, and enjoying the excellent banter with Jim and his staff, but had to drag ourselves away as there was more to see and do.

Next port of call was Islay Ales, Brewery open day. We parked up the car and had a wonder around the square, there were oysters for sale, a barbeque, a beer tent, brewery tours all day and live music, so you will see that they satisfied all needs. All the shops in the periphery of the square were open with a range of things to purchase – (check out the chocolates – to die for !!!!!!)

So off we set for Bowmore. Iain decided to pop up and see his sister Evelyn who lives in Bowmore and the other band of three decided to head off to the Harbour in for lunch. It was here that we met up with two delightful gentlemen from Vancouver (sorry forgot your names). We kept meeting up with these guys who wanted to buy our Whisky Boys polo tops and baseball caps. We told them to e-mail our website with their address and size etc and we would forward, but so far we have not heard – guys if you are out there drop us a note.

Lunch was, as always, excellent. the service and quality is completely outstanding and I would recommend any visitor to have at least one meal at this hostelry when staying on the Island.

Once tummies were full – we walked the short distance to the distillery where we met up with Iain and his sister Evelyn. Our initial pop into the visitors centre did not attract much interest, but Evelyn ensured that we had the opportunity to sample a good few malts (nothing like a local !!). While on this Bow more journey we were out on the verandah taking some photos when a delightful French gentleman called Philippe from Toulouse. Philippe offered to take photos of the group and before we new it the “auld alliance” was once again working – he was charming and delightful as all Frenchmen are. He joined our little band as we moved over to Bowmore Private Gardens where we all could bring the day to a close with a dram or three, an oyster or six and some hoolie-tastic music provided by the Maverick Angels, a fantastic climax to the day’s outings.

It was agreed that for an evening meal we would pop our to the Port Charlotte Hotel for a bar meal. It is essential that you book a bar table, especially this week, so again off we set. You can see there is a pattern developing – quality food, quality beverages, quality service not to mention quality company. Jacqueline opted for lamb shanks, Iain and Jim were conventional with steak pie and Nicola decided upon a Thai curry. When the curry arrived we could not believe how hot it was. We are all seasoned curry eaters with Jim enjoying a Vindaloo or two, but this was off the Richter scale hot hot hot !!!! Nicola settled down for eating a little boiled rice, so we all chipped in and gave her a little bit of ours. With out question the Hotel took this item off our bill and all we can say is thanks and if you order the Thai curry – make sure the Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service are on hand.

So here endeth another wonderful day in Islay.

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