Do you know what Feis Ile is? Feis ile is the biggest annual festival on the island of Islay, famous for production of peated whiskies. Feis Ile celebrates the culture of Islay. There are Gaelic classes, traditional plays, golf and bowling championships and endless whisky tastings. There is also a myriad of curious activities, such as birdwatching and a fly-fishing championship as well as folk-rock music performances. None of this is very important, though… what really matters is the commemorative bottles.
For Feis Ile, the Islay distilleries often launch commemorative limited editions – highly sought after by collectors, and certain shops that prefer to buy them directly from the source and store the bottles, so they increase in value. For this reason, the island is visited by hundreds of tourists and enthusiasts of the best drink in the world during the festival. Some even camp outside the distilleries for the chance to get their hands on one of these editions.
Others, however, are luckier. Thanks to the generous insanity of Single Malt Brasil, this Dog had the opportunity to taste one these unique treasures – Bowmore Feis Ile 2008, at a tasting in Rio de Janeiro.
Bowmore Feis Ile was distilled on exactly 14th June 1999 and bottled while young – after eight years – for Feis Ile 2008. Eight hundred numbered bottles were produced with a (literally) staggering alcohol content of 57.4%. It was aged exclusively in European Oak barrels from the Limousin region, some of the most expensive and most popular barrels in the whisky industry.
Incidentally, Bowmore is famous precisely because it is aged in a variety of barrels. There are American Oak, European Oak and even Japanese Oak, known as Mizunara. The distillery is well known for mastering the balance between a peaty flavour and the wine influence of wine and sherry. This is a difficult technique, since the taste of fortified wine clashes with the smoky peat. One of Bowmore’s biggest attractions is its warehouses – in particular that known as No. 1 Vaults, which is the oldest in Scotland and dates back to 1779.
Bowmore Feis Ile 2008 is a very spicy, peaty whisky with a clear orange citrus flavour. The taste is spicy, smoky and fruity with lime orange and raisins. It’s amazing how such a young whisky develops such complexity, thanks to Bowmore, the careful ageing process and quality of the barrels. It just goes to show that young whiskies can easily outdo more matures ones – depending on their flavour and profile.
It seems obvious, but unfortunately Bowmore Feis Ile isn’t available in Brazil. No Bowmore is, by the way. After all, we are just a small and remote country in the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
BOWMORE FEIS ILE 2008
Type: Single Malt with age statement – 8 years.
Aroma: peated and smoky with orange lime and lemon.
Flavour: Initially spicy and smoky buy quickly becomes fruity and citric with orange lime and raisins. The finish is long and smoky.
With Water: Adding water softens the whisky and enhances the citrus flavour.