Fèis Ìle – what’s on this weekend?

Fèis Ìle – what’s on this weekend?

One of the biggest events in the Scotch whisky calendar is finally here

News | 27 May 2021

  • Share to:
That’s right, Islay’s most anticipated whisky festival, Fèis Ìle, has begun. We’ve rounded up some of 2021’s festival highlights, taking a look at what each of Islay’s distilleries is doing to mark the occasion as well as their own anniversaries and milestones, big and small!

Below you can find out when events are happening, how you can take part, and what new releases you can look forward to sampling. Make the most of the bank holiday weekend, and remember, you can get your virtual programme here.

Ardnahoe – Friday 28th May

Ardnahoe has released an exclusive tasting pack for the occasion

11:00 – Distillery tour

Join the Ardnahoe team for an exclusive tour of the production facilities, led by Stuart Hughes. The tour will take in the brand-new distillery, which stands as the culmination of the Laing family’s whisky dream; while Covid has prevented visitors from seeing the distillery in-person, this is a great opportunity to get a glimpse of what exactly has been going on behind closed warehouse doors. A great way to celebrate the old (Stewart Laing worked at the Bruichladdich Distillery in the 1960s, where his love of Islay and its whisky was ignited), and new, of Islay, the tour will go live here.

14:00 – Cocktails with Kill Devil Rum

If you feel like shaking things up a bit and getting stuck in with something practical, Ardnahoe’s rum guru Emily will be on hand from 2pm to give a masterclass in cocktail making. While delivery for the 28th is no longer guaranteed, cocktail kits are still available to purchase here if you’d like to try your hand at cocktail making after the event.

19:00 – Q&A

In the evening you can enjoy a live Q&A and discussion with some of Islay’s resident whisky experts: distillery manager Fraser Hughes, recently retired Manager of Caol Ila Distillery Billy Stitchell; and retired Manager of Bowmore Distillery, Eddie McAffer. The trio will regale participants with ‘stories of the past’, discussions of new releases, and an update on Ardnahoe’s developing spirit as its third birthday approaches. Tasting kits are still available here and you can access the Q&A here.

21:00 – Introduction to tasting

Round off the day with this event hosted by Rachel MacNeill of the Islay Whisky Academy. This is an event organised directly by Fèis Ìle – check out the festival Facebook page for more details!

Lagavulin and Caol Ila – Saturday 29th May

Neil Kirkpatrick features in the celebration of music and whisky

19:00 – Savour the moments

If you like your whisky with a side of music, this event is the one for you: Saturday evening will see Lagavulin Distillery turn into a live music venue as the warehouse hosts evening of performances by Scottish singers, Joy and Andrew Dunlop and the Niall Kirkpatrick Ceilidh Band. On top of this, attendees will be able to access an exclusive ‘adventure’ which will take a tour of Islay’s surrounding sea, the breathtaking scenery around the island, and a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of warehouse manager Iain McArthur.

Attendees can tune in to the virtual event via the Lagavulin Facebook page, and will also get an exclusive first look at the highly anticipated festival bottling: Lagavulin Fèis Ìle 2021 – 13 Years Old. This limited-edition Lagavulin bottling has been matured in refill American Oak casks and finished in high char Port-seasoned casks. The run of 6,000 bottles will be released with an ABV of 54.4%, and an RSP of £160 per 70cl. These will be available to purchase at Lagavulin Distillery and pre-order on malts.com from the 31st May.

21:00 – Fèis Folk Night

Let the party atmosphere continue with this event featuring guests from around the island offering piping, music and song. Again, this is an event organised directly by Fèis Ìle, so visit the festival Facebook page for more information!

Bruichladdich – Sunday 30th May

Bruichladdich"s limited-edition new bottling will be available to purchase over the festival

14:00 – 20:00 – Laddie Lock-In II: Time Travellers

Bruichladdich has a lot to celebrate this year: 2021 marks 20 years since the distillery reopened, 10 years of The Botanist Gin, a year since the distillery became B Corp certified, and an incredible 140 years since the distillery was built and first opened. The distillery’s celebrations are centred around the theme of ‘Time Travellers’; the team are raising a dram to past and present milestones, while raising a toast to the future!

The celebrations include an interactive whisky masterclass, music, and live action from the island. For more information, and to access all the fun, you’ll need to pre-register here. You’ll also have the chance to get your hands on the new 2021 bottling: Laddie Origins. The whisky is a vatting of 13 casks, 12 vintages, six barley types and nine cask types – a simple dram this is not! This bottling will initially be released via ballot, with only 3,000 bottles available. 840 bottles of Bruichladdich Single Cask will go also go on sale, again through ballot to begin with.

21:00 – Music galore

Follow up the Bruichladdich festivities with this musical event plus ‘messages from our mainland musical friends’, courtesy of Fèis Ìle – more details can be found on the Facebook page.

Caol Ila and Lagavulin – Monday 31st May

Mairi McGillvray stars in the distilleries" celebrations

19:00 – The sounds of Islay

Bank Holiday Monday will see a second night of whisky and music take place at Lagavulin Distillery (the sister distillery of Caol Ila, hosting the festivities while the latter undergoes construction work), with Glasgow-based actor and musician Patricia Panther starring as guest host. Islay born, award-winning Gaelic singer Mairi McGillvary will also share some of her latest music, and Alasdair Currie, a Gaelic singer and piper also based on Islay, will join the lineup for a special performance.

Attendees can join the event on the Caol Ila Facebook page, and will be accompanied by delicious whisky cocktail recipes and a specially commissioned contemporary composition from singer-songwriter Beldina Odenyo. There’s certainly something here for everyone! The event also promises an exclusive first look at the Caol Ila Fèis Ìle Festival bottling: Caol Ila Fèis Ìle 2021 – 12 Years Old. The new bottling has been matured in refill American oak, finished in high-char Moscatel-seasoned casks, and is bottled at 56.6% ABV. The new release will be available at the Lagavulin distillery shop from 29th May and online on malts.com from 1st June, with a pre-sale for subscribers at 2pm (BST) 31 May.

20:30 - Live Committee Q&A with the Fèis Ìle team

Exactly what it says on the tin – meet the hardworking team behind the festival! Again, full details can be found on the Fèis Ìle Facebook page.
Magazine Archive

From the archive

Select an issue

Subscribe Now

Subscriptions for
Whisky Magazine are available
in print, digital or as a
complete package

The Benefits

8 print editions a year

Enjoy the convenience of home delivery

Full access to every digital edition via desktop, iOS or Android device

Latest Issue Subscribe Now

The Whisky Encyclopedia - Coming Soon 2024

Discover the world of whisky with our comprehensive encyclopedia
Featuring companies, distilleries, brands, glossaries, and cocktails

Join The Community

Sign up to the Whisky Magazine
newsletter letter and get access to the latest
in all things whisky

paragraph publishing ltd.   Copyright © 2024 all rights reserved.   Website by Acora One

Consent Preferences