The Big Fat List of Feis Ile 2018 whiskies

I have been compiling this list of upcoming Feis Ile whiskies and events for a few years now and it is easily one of the most read articles of the first half of the year so without further ado let's dive into the frenzy of the Islay Festival of Malt and Music!

The American Monument - Peter Fairhurst ( - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 )


Ardbeg is usually one of the first distilleries to 'leak' its Feis Ile whisky. It is also one of the few who does a global release of its festival whisky. Yet they still call it a "limited edition". Ardbeg usually launches a higher ABV Committee Release - sells out in the blink of an eye, good luck - and a standard 46% ABV version.

Ardbeg Grooves matured in heavily charred - that leaves deep grooves - wine casks. I suspect hippie clothing, Afro wigs and funky sunglasses.

Ardbeg Grooves

Ardbeg Grooves Committee Edition

Ardbeg Grooves

Laphroaig Distillery

Laphroaig is even more predictable than Ardbeg when it comes to the festival bottling. We already know it's going to be named Cairdeas and the ABV will be 51.8%. The 2018 friendship edition is finished in fino sherry casks, a profile that could suit the Laphroaig flavours beautifully.

Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino Cask

Laphroaig Cairdeas

Jura Distillery

Nothing has been confirmed but we might guess the whisky will be named Tastival...

Bowmore Distillery

Bowmore has a history of launching multiple distillery-only whiskies during the festival. Bowmore announced two Feis Ile whiskies: an Oloroso matured single malt at £85 and a 1989 vintage drawn from a bourbon cask. Price: £400.

Bruichladdich Distillery

"The Last of the First": The very last five casks from Port Charlotte's first year of distillation in 2001. Adam has carefully married these five casks which previously held either American whiskey, rum or fine French wine. Limited to 1300 bottles, the Heretic is bottled at 55.9% abv. and will be available for £125.

Port Charlotte 2001 The Heretic 

Source: Bruichladdich

Kilchoman Distillery

For this year's Feis Ile festival Kilchoman have selected casks 34,65,82 & 83 from 2007. There are only 744 bottles at cask strength of 55.5% and only available on the Kilchoman Open Day.

Kilchoman 11YO

Kilchoman 11YO Feis Ile 2018

Bunnahabhain Distillery

Bunnahabhain will release 2 different expressions: a 2002 single malt matured in Spanish oak and a mildly smoky 2007 single malt.

Bunnahabhain 2007 Moine Oloroso

Bunnahabhain 2002 Spanish Oak

Caol Ila Distillery

The Caol Ila festival bottling has been matured in refill American oak hogsheads and rejuvenated European oak butts. Bottled at natural cask strength, with a limited edition run of 2,496 bottles at 58.2% ABV and priced at £100.

Lagavulin Distillery

The Lagavulin Feis Ile festival whisky is only available at the distillery. The 18-year-old Lagavulin was personally selected by Iain McArthur and matured in a mixture of refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts. Bottled at natural cask strength (53.9%) with notes of ripe and dried berries, classic Lagavulin smoke and notes of coffee and chocolate on the nose, it will retail for £130.

Lagavulin 18YO

Lagavulin 18YO


The new and old kids from the block

Since we've got word from Diageo that Port Ellen will reopen in the near future - three years is near is whisky-years - and the construction site at Ardnahoe is showing real progress, we might assume these two will also present something during the festival.

The indie bottlers

Some of the independent bottlers host their own events on Islay. We can confirm that Douglas Laing will have a few surprises up its sleeve. The same can be said from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society who already filed three labels in the Colas Database. And since they have been filed in this database, I'm guessing these whiskies will turn up in the regular outturn in May.

Douglas Laing Big Peat

Bowmore 20YO 3.307 A journey into joy  55.9% ABV

SMWS Bowmore 20YO

Laphroaig 20YO 29.241 A perfect moment - 49.3% ABV

SMWS Laphroaig 20YO

Caol Ila 11YO  53.252 Smoky incarnations - 57.8% ABV

SMWS Caol Ila 11YO
Happy hunting!