2016 – Islay

Islay 2016

It’s on!  Finally.  This was to have been a 2014 trip.  Then a 2015 trip.  Unfortunately one obstacle after another fell in front of those that planned on going, and by necessity this return to Islay had to be postponed.  We’re now seven months from lift-off.  Details and features will be shared here, of course, as will some of the lead-up.

Islay2 367

Is it obssession?  Hmmmm…maybe.  I’d like to suggest it’s more of a ‘homecoming’ of sorts.  It’s not really about touring anymore.  It’s more about going back to that place and lifestyle I love.

And for the others who join me on these little excursions…well…hopefully this is the beginning of their own little obssession with this land of Celtic myth and lost history.

Cannae wait to get back.  More to come…


– Curt

33 thoughts on “2016 – Islay

  1. ATW Post author

    Looks as though a small ragtag band of misfits, much like last time, will be making their way to the Queen Of The Hebrides in September. Countdown begins.

    I could certainly use some sponsorship for this one…

    1. Skeptic

      Maybe after I finish paying my mortgage… We all live vicariously through you, maybe we should contribute to it…

      1. ATW Post author

        Thinking about hiring Sally Struthers for one of those ‘for just pennies a day, you too can sponsor…’ type programs.

        1. David

          Not pennies, we got rid of those, remember?

          Plus with the increasing price of good scotch, and declining availability of fossil fuels, you’d better go with for just “nickels” a day…

          1. ATW Post author

            Didn’t want to sound greedy. They’ll still take pennies at the bank, right? Perfect plan. With everyone trying to get rid of ’em, I’ll clean up!

  2. Jeff

    I recently got an email, out of the blue, from a Nigerian prince who’s found himself in a bind, so I’m trying to help with that. We got chatting and, interestingly, despite his financial problems, he also has an active interest in expensive high-end whisky, just like a lot of the people here, but says he hasn’t been to Islay even once – so things are tough all over and there’s a lot of worthy causes out there.

    1. ATW Post author

      Hahaha. And who am I to stand in the shadows of a great Nigerian prince? Perhaps give him my Sally Struthers idea. I’ll find a new way.

      1. Jeff

        I did pass that idea along to Prince Iwanmoolahyours, but he seemed concerned there would be too much red tape and paperwork – he’s more of a “cash” guy. When I mentioned Sally Struthers, he was enthusiastic to meet her as “All In The Family” is just starting its run in Nigeria and he thinks Gloria is “way hot”, but his enthusiasm fell off with a little more recent research.

        1. David

          Interesting, I think his cousin contacted me with a very heart-breaking story that the government was going to steel his millions but that I could help him and get 10%.

          I was so touched I offered to do it for free, and he accepted this reluctantly, but for some reason when I offered to ask the RCMP to assist us (because after all, this was all legal), I lost contact with him.

  3. skeptic

    Have you found a sponsor yet? Better hurry… lots of people are in need of a “sponsor”…like Toronto’s Mayor.

    I hear the North Face was told to stop pretending it was an official Olympic Sponsor…maybe if you could frame it in terms of sport:

    1. The Marathon. Instead of 42 km, 42 drams.

    2. The “shot” put. I’ll leave the definition to your imagination.

    3. Fencing. Don’t the use the term “feints”?

    4. Javelin. The feeling in your head the next morning….

    For winter sport:

    5. the half-pint (kind of like the half-pipe).

    6. Short and long track speed drumming.

    6. But not ice-dancing….no ice allowed in your dram…

    Ok, I heard you, enough already…..

  4. skeptic

    Damn auto correct…… that’s speed -dramming.

    and it’s not double vision from too much Islay nectar, I accidentally put in 2 sixes.

  5. ATW Post author

    This little endeavour was delayed a tick, but seems things are back on track now. We’re looking at an April departure now. 2015, that is. A year away. Seems so long when it’s worded that way, but I know it will go fast. Early planning starts now, but it’s tough not to be able to just dive in and start locking things in.

    So…about that sponsorship…

    1. Collegiate

      200th anniversary of Ardbeg AND Laphroaig in 2015… Sign me up! Surely there will be some special bottlings to commemorate …. Of course there is the 200th anniversary of Lagavulin in 2016… So maybe two trips are in order!

      1. John Gurney

        I attended a special Ardbeg tasting presented by distillery manager Micky Heads in February 2015 at the Soho Whisky Club (above the Vintage Whisky shop). If you’re an Ardbeg Committee member, which is free to join, you’ll receive their newsletters and invites to events. Ardbeg offered the chance to apply for a draw for 100 Committee members to attend a special dinner and tasting at their Kiln Cafe in May. The Dinner & expressions will be £100.

        For Lagavulin, being owned by Diagio, simply sign up to Friends of Classic Malts.

      1. ATW Post author

        Nah. Just nothing scheduled right now. A few things have cropped up over the past months that have pushed this back by necessity.

        I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the only place in the world I feel like I’m home. Could never be away too long.

  6. John Gurney

    Re: Islay 2015 Postponed. Up until April 2014, I had been taking small groups of up to 4 in my car, on Islay whisky tours. I started doing this for select clients (I specialise in teaching English as a Foreign Language to business owners). I got to know most of the distillery managers / visitor centre managers abd stars such as “Pinky” at Lagavulin. He did the warehouse demostrations.

    I wasn’t doing my tours for a big commercial fee but for established clients and friends of friends. I did register a website, http://www.Islay-Whisky-Tours.com but due to personal and family issues, everything stopping in May 2014.

    If anyone wants help going on a whisky tour of Islay or Speyside (as that’s where I started learning about whisky) I’m happy to help. I could organise the whole trip including accommodation and all distillery visits but would advise that in my opinion, the vest time to go on any whisky tour in Scotland is September to November.

    Please let me know if you need any help.


    1. ATW Post author

      Yes, absolutely. I’ve never been to the fest, but don’t have a lot of interest in fighting the crowds, not getting into sold-out events and having limited access to key people and such. Just my misanthropy, I guess. 😉

      September is great. Weather is good, things are quiet around the distilleries. No issues hooking up accommodations, etc.

      Just my preferences.

      1. Malt Activist

        Come to the Feis. It’s awesome. If you haven’t been how can you assume you’re gonna have all this fighting to do? I didn’t fight with a single person, I promise.

        Also I’ve booked a bunch of tours before hand no problem. You’re welcome to join. I have a cottage that sleeps eight!

        Don’t ever tell me I didn’t ask you!

          1. Malt Activist

            Well, people started accusing me of raising money to just fund my drinking so I said f**k it – I’ll do it my self. Don’t need anyone’s funds.

          2. skeptic

            That’s too bad. I didn’t see it that way at all. It’s not like Ralfy asking people to “buy me a dram” on Patreon….

            But I hope you are able to make the ultimate whisky documentary anyway. You have a good on-air presence.

          3. ATW Post author

            Wow. This is the first I’ve heard of all this. Tab…drop a line and fill me in a bit when you get a chance.

            Regarding Feis…nah. I know it would be a blast and all, but 1) I couldn’t get away that fast even if I wanted to, and 2) There are maybe half a dozen of us going and 3) Islay to me is about a quiet escape and disconnecting for a while. Doesn’t really work in big crowds and long queues to buy bottles.

            Having said that, looking forward to living vicariously through you in May, before our crew heads that way in September. Thanks for the offer though. You’re a good man.

          4. ATW Post author

            …and yes…I agree with Skeptic. As I told you long back…I like enjoy the vids. Keep ’em coming. Looking forward to whatever this documentary turns out to be. I’m sure you’ll kill it.

      1. Chris 1

        Curt,if you are in the Kiln Café at Ardbeg make sure you have the excellent smoked mackerel soup with a dram of Ten, Uigeadail or Corry in your other hand. Mmmm good.

  7. David

    Looking at the twitterverse, it seems our friend is back in Scotland drinking 50 YO scotch practically right out of the barrel….


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