We are now in the month of May, and that can only mean one thing – Fèis Ìle, Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt.
My pick of the Society’s three exclusive Islay bottlings for this year’s Fèis Ìle is Cask No. 3.299: Sweet smoke on the water. This dram comes from the oldest distillery on Islay and is a big favourite here at The Vaults.
On the nose it is very light, with the whiff of a neighbour’s BBQ. It is very enticing, drawing you in to find more aromas of light, discreet sweet smoke and freshly cut pine. On the palate there is heathery floral sweetness, a touch of Loch Indaal sea saltiness, and now on the BBQ there are sweet scallops and shell-on tiger prawns.
The mouthfeel is light, crisp and very delicate. This is a pre-dinner dram, an ideal aperitif – usually smoky/peaty malts are for after dinner, but 3.299 Sweet smoke on the water is fresh and so very easy to sip. The finish is quite long and it is dry, lingering with an elegant lightness to it.
This bottling is a triumph so get over to Islay at the month’s end taste and get yourself a bottle, or try and snap one up from Friday, 2 June.
Cask No. 3.299: Sweet smoke on the water will go on sale for £130, exclusively to those at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Open Day at the Islay Whisky Festival on Friday, 26 May at Islay House in Bridgend.
3.299 will also feature in our special Hauf n’ Hauf masterclass, pairing the whisky with a selection of beers from Islay Ales. The masterclass takes place at 4.30pm, and you can buy your ticket here.
3.299: Sweet smoke on the water will then be available, while stocks last, online and at the Society’s UK venues from Friday, 2 June. All three bottlings will be available at some of the Society’s partner bars in France and Germany, which will be offering special Fèis Ìle-themed whisky flights and hosting events in celebration of the festival. More information on these events can be found at www.smws.com/events
In addition, the Society’s branches in the US and Australia will also be staging special Fèis Ìle tastings over the course of the Islay Festival to celebrate the festival and the release of these new whiskies.