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Issue 18 - Feis Ile 2001

Whisky Magazine Issue 18
September 2001


This article is 16 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Feis Ile 2001

Dave Broom takes up residence on Islay for the duration of the whisky festival and enjoys a seemingly never ending spiral of whisky served in half-pint glasses, oysters, cigars and dancing – he even finds the time to visit a couple of distilleries as well

Day 1, Saturday 26th May 2001
The sea is like a sheet of glass. No sound as the prow cuts though the water. Jura is a fuzz on the starboard side and where Islay should be ... nothing. We're sailing into a patch of brilliant sunlight to a mysterious island.

Only two drivers wave at us as we make our way from Port Askaig to Port Charlotte, evidence of lots of tourists. I wonder if part of taking your driving test on Islay involves being able to wave and steer at the same time.

I meet Iain MacLellan and get the keys to our cottage which is next door to the Lochindaal Hotel (which he also owns). “There might be a bit of noise tonight, we've got a few musicians coming in,” he says. At 11.30pm a piper starts up outside our window. We go to the bar to find a wall of accordionists, a mandolin player, a guitarist, drummer ... and the piper. They rage through a selection of crowd-pleasers. Everyone who enters is grabbed and asked if they play or sing. Drams
are flying. The bar's run out of Bruichladdich. Overheard conversation: “We make pickles.” “Looks like you've done a good job on yourself. Have a dram.”

Day 2, Sunday 27th May 2001
I drive out from my base to see the recently reopened White Hart in Port Ellen. There's a kitschy display in the corner, all fisherman's nets, diver's helmets and a realistic-looking dummy of an old salt. I'm wondering why they've let a mannequin take up valuable space when it suddenly moves and staggers to the door – spending three m...

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