FUN-travel: UK & Whisky Festival Trip Recap

June 26, 2017 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: UK & Whisky Festival Trip Recap 

Our tasting at the Bowmore House

  • I learned a whole lot at “Scotch School”…

…and drank more single malt whisky in 5 days…

…than in my entire life…

…just wee little drams mind you…

…and some just a wee little bit bigger!

  • My personal favorites were the ones finished in a sherry cask.

And we were so LUCKY to have gotten a room in Islay at the Bowmore House B&B. The first week of January not a room was to be found. And then by magic…one opened up! Andrew, the owner, made the trip so much more memorable and a totally different experience! We would have never had the 2 special tastings or benefited from the wealth of whisky knowledge he has.

  • And while I now have an appreciation for fine whiskies…

…my distilled spirit of choice…

…is still an extra dry Gin martini straight up!

Many people we encountered during our trip said, “I hope you’re having a good time.” To which my response was, “There is no other option. It’s compulsory!” That’s pretty much how I feel about travel.   I WILL always have a GOOD TIME!

Ardbeg Fesitval Day

Also many people were concerned that we were traveling to the UK so soon after the Manchester bombing. But we believe it is never safer to travel then when there’s been an incident like that. Everyone was on high alert. Then the London Bridge terror attack happened.

Hairy Coo (as they pronounce them)

We were never anywhere near a big city, let alone a big town, other than Glasgow for a train to plane change. A terror attack can happen anywhere in the world and unfortunately it’s becoming far too common these days. But it will never make us so fearful that we wouldn’t travel.

  • That being said…

…it makes us very, very happy we are…

…almost at the end of our bucket list!

FUN-fact – Our Daily UK Weather Report – sunshine mixed with clouds and rain. And that was pretty much it. Only caught a few occasional short sprinkles until the last day when it was pretty wet in Oban. And when we arrived in Paisley before our flight to Islay. It took longer to take a cab then to walk 500 meters to the Ashtree House Hotel. Big thanks to Chris for packing those umbrellas!

FUN-travel: Oban, Scotland – Day 2

June 17, 2017 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Oban, Scotland – Day 2 

  • Our second day included a lovely stroll along the waterfront…

…with an afternoon tour of the Oban Distillery…and of course more whisky tasting !

To peat or not to peat? That is the question…

…and only you can decide…

…best bit of advice…

…is to get tasting!

  • Orkney peat tends to reflect a heathery, mossy character determined by the island’s abundance of heather and lack of trees.

Islay peat often brings you down to the seashore with a marine and sometimes medicinal character influenced by its coastal location.

  • Highland or mainland peat frequently displays wood smoke aromas from its woodland landscape. So…

…depending on where the peat comes from…

…determines the taste.

Tasting whisky is as much art as it is science. A lot of both are involved in the process. To learn how to fully taste whisky takes time, patience and on a positive note, practice, practice, practice. After all…

There is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others.”     ~ William Faulkner – Writer and Nobel Prize laureate

Fresh Caught Crab

FUN-fact – Oban translated means The Little Bay and is dubbed “the Seafood Capital of Scotland.”

FUN-travel: Islay to Oban, Scotland

June 16, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

  • Caught the 9:45 ferry to Kennacraig…

…where Alex & Barbara awaited us…

Alex, Barbara & Us on Pulpit Hill

…for the scenic 2 hour drive…

…back to their home.

  • Met them on our “Slow Boat to Singapore Cruise” in 2016!

Our View From Alex’s Backyard

  • Oban is on the west coast…

…and southern part of the Scottish Highlands.

  • Had a lovely time exploring the sights…

built to look like the coliseum in Rome &…

Pulpit Hill

…with it’s panoramic views of the city & bay…

…and of course we had to check out the local pub!

FUN-fact – McCaig’s Tower, a folly and prominent local landmark, was constructed between 1897 and 1902.His intention was to provide a lasting monument to his family, and provide work for the local stonemasons during the winter months.

FUN-travel: Islay, Scotland – Fèis Ìle – Day 3

June 15, 2017 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Islay, Scotland – Fèis Ìle – Day 3 

Got lucky again…

…boys from Sydney have car…

…for our morning tasting tour.

1st stopBruichladdich – 10 am

…only to find out…

…no tastings before 11…so on to…

2nd stopKilchoman – one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland…

…and the only independently owned one on Islay…

…one of only a handful still practicing floor malting…

…barley is also grown on the farm…

…making Kilchoman the only distillery to…

…complete all parts of the whisky making process on site.

Bowmore

3rd stop – back to Bruichladdich…for our tastings…

Bowmore Church

…and my big surprise as they also make…

…The Botanist…one of my favorite gins…

…22 hand-foraged local botanicals…

…delicately augment 9 berries, barks, seeds & peels…

…during an achingly slow distillation…

…and the first and only Islay Dry Gin.

4th stopBowmore

…only a hop, skip & a jump…

…from where we are staying…

…oldest continual operating distillery founded in 1779…

…but rumor has it…

….they were making whisky long before that.

FUN-fact – Fèis Ìle runs 8 days and there are 8 distilleries. So each day one is the featured music & malt festival hot spot.

More FF – Bowmore’s famous round church was built “with no corners for the devil to hide in.”

Our Lovely View From Room at The Bowmore House

FUN-travel: Islay, Scotland – Fèis Ìle – Day 2

June 12, 2017 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Islay, Scotland – Fèis Ìle – Day 2 

  • Lucky us…get a ride from Canadians staying here…

…you can’t drink those darn taxi fares!

Smokies

1st stopArdbeg Feis Day – £5 gets a souvenir glass…

…filled with the dram of your choice…

and a smokie

…whole smoked mackerel…YUM!

2nd stopLagavulin…just a one mile walk…

…along lovely stream…

…with asphalted path…

…and busier than expected…

…thought everyone would be next door at Ardbeg.

3rd stopLaphroaig…just 1.5 miles more

…down same winding path…

…next to stream.

…we own a square foot of Islay…

…and the best part…

…we collect rent…

…a dram of the finest as they say…

…plus a mini bottle to go…

…such a deal!

4th stopPort Ellen – just ¾ of a mile…but more hilly…

…so it feels farther…pick up bus back to Bowmore…a steal at £5.50!

FUN-fact – Rumor has it Irish monks first introduced the art of distillation to Islay, during the early fourteenth century. Fertile for growing barley, called bere in the old days, with excellent pure water sources and plenty of peat, the island had everything in favour to distill whisky.

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