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If you’re bothered about the weather and I’m sure you’re not;  It’s another beautiful day here on Islay and it’s time again to head to the north of the island to an off the beaten track (if there is such a thing on Islay) location that is Bunnahabhain. Smudgy and Al are booked on the cooking with whisky class whilst myself, Al and Garson are on the Masterclass.   Wolfie is just going to stroll about and enjoy the day and the delights that Bunnahabhain has laid on.    Ralf has opted to do a bit of walking and he’s left the accommodation and is heading down towards Portnahaven with plans to get the bus back about the same time as we should get home. It’s a traditional type distillery and one that looks like it hasn’t really changed its roots since time began even though the original larger distillery was demolished and the ‘newer’ smaller one put in its place.    Lots of quirky things make this one unique – the shop being up some great stairs to where the distillery office is, and then it resembling someones front room all add to the character that is Bunnahabhain. There’s a sampling area as well as the obligatory cake stand which Smudge and I can attest that the clootie dumpling was excellent.  🙂    They were also serving up Bunnahabhain slushies – 12 year old with a Raspberry flavour which given the heat of the day were very thirst quenching.  (heads off to Ebay to see if there’s a slushie machine for sale 🙂 ). Some great music provided by Kilter (alas no CD’s for sale), but what great ceilidh music as well as other music from the likes of John Martin etc.     All I’m saying if I was having a wedding and I needed a Ceilidh band these guys would be at the top of the list.       They even managed to get people organised to perform a strip the willow without the chaos that ensued at one of the other days  🙂 In our tasting we had the following samples : 18 year old –    Mmmmmmm taste the sherry. 25 Year old –   Older chill filtered 25 Year Old –  Newer chill filtered Darach Ur – Nice Cruach Mhona – Peated – Bloody hell !!! Having sampled the softer side of the Islays up to the Darach Ur, we’re put in at the deep end with a Cruach Mhona which has everyone going – OOoo, aaaah…. There’s lots of activities to fill in the day;  archery, welly throwing, fly fishing etc as well as being a short walk round the cliff is the remains of the Wyre Majestic – one of only four wrecks on the UK mainland that you can see at both high and low tides.    For some people however it was just too much : Our purchases now being made we’re annoyed that they released their Feis Ile bottling at the beginning of the week as today, on their open day; there’s none left.   So we console each other by buying each a bottle of 18 year old; very nice. Then it’s back to the house where we get our purchases out to see how much of a party we could have.   Well it would have been straight back to the house but as we were leaving the distillery, we catch sight of a lovely vessel working it’s way up the Caol Ila – The Waverley; a working paddle ship which is I believe en route to Oban from Glasgow. Al and Wolfie go first. Followed by H and Garson   Then it’s my turn. Then a showing of everything we bought this week;    
Then it’s as normal, out for a lovely meal in what seems to becoming our local pub – the Port Charlotte Hotel.   Great food and a great setting, we dine as always in the conservatory, running and down the stairs to get our own drinks.
We finish the week as Al and myself began it;  with a snifter of Ardbeg Alligator since everything has been packed up ready for a journey home tomorrow.  Sadly we’ll miss the Ardbeg day.
Yet another cracking day, sadly our last but the folks of Bunnahabhain – you did well; just a pity about the Feis Ile being sold out slightly faster than the burgers were.


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