In today's Tales From The Isle I'd planned to bring you the story of the devil's final visit to Bowmore in some detail, but an action-packed day at Fèis Ìle means that this issue has rather taken on a life of its own! The story is still worth telling, however, if only in brief. The famous round church in Bowmore, constructed ten years before the distillery was established, is said to be round so that the devil had no corners to hide in. According to legend, the architectural trap worked so well that when he did finally pop by in 1837 he was instantly spotted and pursued down the road by an angry Christian mob. Entering the distillery buildings, he made his escape by hiding within a cask of whisky that was being loaded onto the Maid of Islay for transport to the mainland. It's said that he never dared to return.
Traditionally-rigged tall ships are pretty cool. Ships like the Bessie Ellen, for example, Britain’s last wooden coasting ketch still under sail. These days it's a regular sight at Fèis Ìle, making berth at Caol Ila distillery, having originally transported cargo (including peat) around the UK as early as 1906. Happily, it also shares part of its name with both a Laphroaig distillery manager of note and a nearby port town with a rather well-known closed distillery. Plus it has the added bonus of making us feel more than a little pirate-y too. Arr!
In this issue of Tales From The Isle we'll be taking a look at Caol Ila's festival bottling as well as reliving a terrifying tale of piracy from the seas surrounding Islay that's guaranteed to shiver yer timbers!