Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt (Fèis Ìle) goes online


Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt (Fèis Ìle) may be cancelled but there are online celebrations and tastings galore…

Bunnahabhain single malt whisky is introducing two new limited-edition expressions to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the world-famous Feis Ile festival on Islay – the Moine Amontillado Finish and 2002 Madeira Finish.

Bunnahabhain will debut the exceptional new expressions to whisky fans across the globe, with a special ‘Feis-at-Home’ virtual tasting to recreate the warm Islay festival atmosphere.

The first of the festival editions is the Bunnahabhain Moine Amontillado Finish, a 2010 peated single malt (56.9% ABV), matured in the iconic coastal warehouses on Bunnahabhain Bay, and finished in the finest Amontillado sherry hogshead casks. Limited to 1658 bottles, and inspired by the welcoming nature of Feis Ile, this warming dram dances with sweet, peppery flavour – recreating that inviting atmosphere of the Islay festival.

The amber gold whisky has unique notes of peppery peat, spicy oak and vanilla custard on the nose, with fresh espresso, dried apple and dusty cocoa on the palate, and a long peppery finish, packed with rick oak and roasted nuts. 

The Bunnahabhain 2002 Madeira Finish is a non-peated single malt (53% ABV), matured for 18 years in Bunnahabhain’s shore-front warehouse and slumbering for its final three years in Madeira sherry hogshead casks. With only 1164 bottles available, this unique flavour was crafted for celebrating a unique occasion, which feels particularly appropriate now – and delivers a symphony of sweet, creamy flavour to taste.

The burnished copper single malt with its standout Madeira Finish has notes of sweet ripe figs and creamy berries on the nose, vanilla and caramelised fruit on the palate, and with a dry but warm finish, fading into a sweet lingering marmalade.

Andrew Brown, Distillery Manager at Bunnahabhain, said,Our festival editions always bring the team’s talent and craft to the fore with something a bit different, and this year’s expressions are truly special. 

We couldn’t have imagined that they would be released without a festival taking place this year. Though these limited-edition single malts pay homage to the magic of Feis Ile, so even if you can’t be there in person, now everyone can take a little slice of that home. Until we raise a dram with you again in person next year!”

Bunnahabhain is Islay’s most remote distillery, overlooking a notorious passage of ocean known by seafarers as the sound of Islay. Bunnahabhain, which is Gaelic for ‘mouth of the river’, goes against the grain – quite literally – from the other distilleries on the island – with a portfolio made up of broadly non-peated expressions.

These superior whiskies sold out in under 24 hours, marking the first ever ‘virtual’ Feis Ile. Bunnahabhain donated 10% of all product sales to The BEN– in aid of Scottish hospitality industry workers affected by Covid-19.

Ardbeg Day is a global, annual celebration of all things Ardbeg. Ardbeg is taking its celebrations online, and inviting malt whisky lovers everywhere to join them as they toast two incredible decades of the Ardbeg Committee. 

The Ardbeg Blaaack Whisky Trials will be broadcast on 30 May 2020 via Facebook to Ardbeg fans around the world. The two-hour programme of tastings, games, and entertainment is in celebration of the Ardbeg Committee’s 20th Anniversary (founded in the year 2000). It takes as its theme the Limited Edition bottled in their honour, Ardbeg Blaaack: a single malt which knits together flavours of velvety summer fruit pudding and bitter cherry, with a deeper edge of soot and Ardbeg’s hallmark smoke.

Mickey Heads, Ardbeg Distillery Manager, said: “We were looking forward to marking Ardbeg Day this year with our dyed-in-the-wool fans here at the Distillery, and at celebrations around world. Sadly, global events overtook us.

However, we’ve put our heads together and come up with a back-up plan to keep our Committee Members entertained, safe at home. I’ll be shepherding the Ardbeg team in an online extravaganza instead – expect tastings of some much-loved whiskies, fun, blether, and maybe even a few Blaaack-inspired surprises.”

You can tune into the Ardbeg Blaaack Whisky Trials from 7pm BST on Ardbeg’s Facebook page, with content available to watch later on, Instagram and YouTube. Ardbeg Blaaack will be available to buy from, Ardbeg Embassies, whisky specialists, and online retailers around the world from 30 May 2020, although distribution may be a bit delayed in some markets due to the current Coronavirus restrictions.