Whisky brands bottle Fèis Ìle specials
Scotch whisky brands are marking the return of the annual Fèis Ìle music and malt festival with the release of limited edition bottlings.
The Fèis Ìle Festival is a nine-day music and whisky event that takes place on the island of Islay in Scotland, which this year is running from 26 May to 3 June.
To mark the occasion, whisky brands have released their own limited edition bottlings, many of which are available exclusively to attendees of the festival.
Elements of Islay
Elixir Distillers-owned whisky brand Elements of Islay has released 288 bottles of its limited edition Beach Bonfire blended malt in honour of the annual festival.
The Elements of Islay team wanted to create a whisky that captures the ‘essence’ of Islay’s ‘rugged wilderness’ and transports each drinker to ‘the heart of this untamed land’ with each sip.
Head blender Oliver Chilton took inspiration from a bonfire night that saw colours, smoke, flames, and sand all collide on a beach.
He explained: “Beach Bonfire takes three distinct Islay spirits matured in a variety of different cask styles to bring a singular location and experience to life through flavour.
“The chance to condense and reimagine the incredible atmosphere of Islay’s coast by bonfire light into a glass of whisky is another step on our journey as blenders.”
Bottled at 57.2% ABV, the blended whisky is matured in new oak, Bourbon refill, and Sherry casks. The result is described as a powerful, herbaceous Islay malt with a rich, complex profile, laden with bonfire ember smoke and a sweet spice finish.
Beach Bonfire is the first release from Elements of Islay since the re-launch of its core range, which it introduced to the US market in February this year.
Elements of Islay Beach Bonfire is available for RRP £79.95 (US$99) exclusively at the Islay Whisky shop. A series of sampling sessions will also take place at the retailer.
Bruichladdich Distillery has also unveiled exclusive bottlings to celebrate this year’s Fèis Ìle: Bruichladdich Rock’ndaal 02.1 and Port Charlotte Rock’ndaal 02.2.
The first of the festival releases, Rock’ndaal 02.1, is a 16-year-old Bruichladdich single malt that has been matured in a mix of Bourbon and Sauternes casks. The sweet influence of the French oak is said to perfectly complement the signature fruity and floral notes of the single malt.
In contrast to the Bruichladdich festival release, Port Charlotte’s Rock’ndaal 02.2 is described as ‘a rich dram with incredible depth and complexity’.
The heavily peated single malt has been matured in a mix of refill wine casks and Sherry butts, the influence of which is said to be ‘unmistakable’, having imparted notes of rich Christmas cake, sultanas and raisins.
The single malt also brings a hint of sweet honey, chocolate and tobacco – adding to its smooth, rounded mouthfeel.
Head distiller Adam Hannett said: “Fèis Ìle is a calendar highlight for whisky enthusiasts around the world, and being able to create these exclusive bottlings is always a privilege. They are two completely different drams in terms of both flavour profile and style, but I believe we’ve created something special to celebrate what is always an unforgettable day at Bruichladdich Distillery.
“Rock’ndaal 02.1, for me, is the perfect expression of Bruichladdich single malt. We’ve hit the sweet spot in terms of maturation profile and age, and the result is a light and uplifting dram which showcases the exceptional quality of the spirit. To me, this is a dram to be enjoyed in the sunshine and truly encapsulates the fun, party feel of Bruichladdich’s festival day.
“In contrast to this vibrant dram, Port Charlotte Rock’ndaal 02.2 is deep and complex. We’ve really pushed the Port Charlotte spirit to see how it would stand up to the Sherry casks, and the smoky, versatile liquid works beautifully with the rich and robust fruit notes.”
Bruichladdich Rock’ndaal 02.1 is priced at £135 (US$155) and Port Charlotte Rock’ndaal is priced at £165 (US$205). Both single malts are Bruichladdich Distillery-exclusives with only 2,500 bottles of each available.
Those interested in purchasing a bottle must enter the ballot at festival.bruichladdich.com, which will open on Wednesday 31 May and close on Monday 5 June.,
Finally, to celebrate Fèis Ìle 2023, and in honour of distillery manager Graham Logan’s 30-year tenure, Jura Distillery has launched the limited edition Logan Cask whisky.
Logan handpicked Cask 1777 from Warehouse 2 for this bottling – a first-fill Bourbon barrel, which is described as a ‘perfect representation’ of Jura’s signature house style.
The Logan Cask has been bottled at 58.9% ABV, and just over 200 bottles are available to purchase exclusively from the Jura Distillery.
On the nose, notes of toffee and butterscotch with hints of vanilla pod can be expected, alongside Scottish tablet with ripe stone fruit, mandarin oil and waxy citrus notes, with the sticky-sweet spice of a ginger cake.
To taste, drinkers may find notes of salted caramel, ginger nut biscuit, frangipane and waxy citrus, followed by an assortment of juicy orchard and stone fruits. Each sip is rounded off with a bright and fruity finish, balanced with a gentle coastal influence.
A drop of water is recommended to accentuate the fruit, and reveal the delicate floral and strawberry notes.
Jura’s Fèis Ìle distillery-exclusive, Logan Cask will be available from the Jura Distillery on its Fèis Ìle day (2 June), priced at £120 (US$149).
Those attending Jura’s Fèis Ìle day can expect to enjoy guided distillery tours and tastings, alongside a series of pop-up events.
In April, Ardbeg released a limited edition single malt called Heavy Vapours to mark this year’s Fèis Ìle festival, while earlier this month, Diageo-owned Islay distilleries Lagavulin and Caol Ila created limited edition single malt whiskies to mark the occasion.