SMWS spirits manager Euan Campbell tells us what’s special to him about the Society’s exclusive Fèis Ìle bottling, 29.211:
Jazzy jousting hastlitude

Islay whiskies are special for me, because more than any other style they evoke a time and a place, and on first nosing of Cask No. 29.211: Jazzy jousting hastlitude*, I’m immediately transported to Port Ellen on a sunny day.

Peat smoke from the maltings is drifting along the street and mingling with salty sea air and hot sand.

The influence of the American oak Pedro Ximenez cask is clean and clear, bringing a minty humbug freshness and a deeper malt loaf note. The palate is sweet and rich, like dates wrapped in smoked bacon. It’s surprisingly mellow for a dram that still comes in at over 50% abv (51.6%).

A splash of water brings out floral notes, as well as some pineapple chunks in syrup.

This whisky is all about balance and subtlety – qualities that are perhaps not always associated with drams from this part of the island.

Cask No. 29.211: Jazzy jousting hastlitude will go on sale for £180, 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.

29.211 will feature in the pairing with fresh local oysters, taking place at 6.30pm. You can buy your ticket for the Fèis Ìle masterclass here

29.211 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.

*If you’re not familiar with the term – and let’s be honest, not many of us are – hastlitude refers to spear-play in a medieval jousting competition. Or it could be spear-play between battling stags on an Islay moor…