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Fèis Ìle 2013 Whisky Bottlings

The Fèis Ìle, also known as the Islay Festival of Music and Malt, is an annual celebration that takes place on the Scottish island of Islay, renowned for its whisky production. The festival is not only a showcase for the island's rich cultural heritage but also an opportunity for Islay's distilleries to release limited edition whiskies that often become highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. The 2013 Fèis Ìle was no exception, with a variety of special bottlings that captured the essence of their respective distilleries and the spirit of the event.

Each distillery typically aligns its special release with its designated day of the festival, adding to the exclusivity and excitement surrounding these whiskies. Here are some highlights from the 2013 Fèis Ìle bottlings:


Lagavulin is one of Islay's most iconic distilleries, and its Fèis Ìle bottlings are eagerly anticipated each year. In 2013, they released a limited edition that was matured in traditional oak casks and then finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. This gave the whisky a pronounced sweetness that complemented Lagavulin's characteristic smoky peatiness, creating a complex and balanced dram with notes of dried fruit and a rich, smoky finish.


Ardbeg, another distillery with a cult following, often uses the festival to showcase its innovative approach to whisky making. The Ardbeg 2013 Fèis Ìle release, 'Ardbog', celebrated the peaty bogs of the island. This particular whisky was aged in Manzanilla sherry casks, which imparted a unique combination of sweet, salty, and earthy flavours alongside Ardbeg's signature peat smoke and hints of the sea.


Bruichladdich is known for its experimental and terroir-driven approach. For the Fèis Ìle 2013, they highlighted their commitment to local ingredients with a single malt distilled from 100% Islay-grown barley. The release, limited to just a few thousand bottles, provided a taste of the island itself, with fresh, grassy notes and a maritime character that spoke of its coastal origins.


Laphroaig's releases for the festival are usually a celebration of its famously medicinal and smoky profile. In 2013, Laphroaig's Cairdeas (meaning 'friendship' in Gaelic) edition was a nod to the distillery's friends and followers. It often features a unique maturation process; that year's edition might have seen an interesting cask finish or a variation in the distillation process to create a distinctive flavour profile that would stand out even in Laphroaig's robust lineup.


Bowmore, the oldest of Islay's distilleries, often uses the Fèis Ìle as an opportunity to release a whisky that showcases its depth and elegance. In 2013, they might have offered a whisky that was both aged in their famed No.1 Vaults and had a unique cask influence, perhaps a special wine cask finish, that added layers of fruit and spice to the smoky core.

Caol Ila

Caol Ila, known for its lighter style of Islay peat, typically releases a bottling that accentuates its clean and maritime qualities. The 2013 special edition might have featured an unusual age statement or cask type, emphasising the distillery's ability to balance peat smoke with elements of citrus and brine.


As the newest distillery on the island at that time, Kilchoman’s Fèis Ìle bottling would likely have been a youthful yet complex whisky, displaying the vibrant and intense peat character for which the distillery is known, possibly with a unique cask finish to add a twist of flavour.


Bunnahabhain, typically known for its unpeated or lightly peated malts, might have presented a limited edition for the Fèis Ìle 2013 that highlighted its softer side, perhaps with a rich sherry cask influence or a unique maturation story.

These whiskies are not just expressions of their distilleries but also snapshots of a particular time in Islay's whisky history. Collectors and enthusiasts treasure them for their uniqueness and as memorabilia of the Fèis Ìle experience. However, it's essential to remember that availability is limited and specific details may vary from year to year, so securing these bottles often requires prompt action or attendance at the festival itself.

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