Fraoch Mòinteach Edition VI

Queen of the Moorlands Whisky

At last! The long awaited 6th Edition of our The Moorland Distiller Fraoch Mòinteach range of rare whiskies is nearly here!

Our Latest Single Cask Whisky

For those whisky lovers with a sweet tooth this is very much the dram for you. Our latest single cask single malt whisky hails from a remote area of Speyside, a stones throw from Cromdale and not too far from Grantown on Spey.

This very special whisky has been drawn straight from a single sherry cask where it has matured for the entire 14 years of its life during which time the spirit has taken on a wealth of rich and sweet flavours. This has resulted in a very easy drinking dram indeed even though it has been bottled at the natural cask strength of 57.3% which is just over 100 proof!

The spirit was distilled in 2005 and it was bottled in June 2019 without any colouring or chill filtration. The whisky is drawn directly from the cask, is completely natural, has all its natural oils and bottled without the addition of water.

Whisky label art
Our character is a cooper on the Edition VI label. Here he is depicted driving the hoops on a large whisky cask

Unique Whisky Labels

Our Fraoch Mòinteach labels are skillfully designed by Dr Curly from Dr Curly’s Toothbrush illustrations. He uses nothing but a toothbrush to create his incredible illustrations. Each of our Fraoch Mòinteach Editions depict our character performing different tasks often seen in a whisky distillery.

Each of the labels are individually numbered and signed.

On the Fraoch Mòinteach Edition VI label, our character is using a hammer and a coopers driver to drive the hoops on a large whisky cask. In preparation for a cask being filled with spirit, coopers drive the hoops to make sure that the staves are as tight as possible so as to avoid any leaks of the precious whisky and to limit the loss to the angels, AKA the Angels Share.

Order a Bottle

We have taken pre-orders for many of the Edition VI bottles available but there are still a few left. The price is £85 per bottle and we can arrange shipping to UK addresses and sometimes overseas too.

If you are interested in enquiring about purchasing a bottle, please complete the form below and we will be in touch as soon as possible!

Previous Fraoch Mòinteach Releases

Whisky Tastings Near You in Autumn 2018

Whisky Tasting

The air is getting cooler and the nights longer, all of a sudden it is feeling very much the time of year that lends itself to enjoying a good single malt whisky by the fire, or failing that 6 drams with us at one of our very special Single Malt Whisky Tasting Experiences at a venue near you soon!

Autumn 2018 Whisky Tastings

The diary is packed with private whisky tastings all over the UK this Autumn but we are also putting together a schedule of Single Malt Whisky Tasting Experiences for which you will be able to buy tickets for you and your whisky friends. We would love to see you at one of our whisky tastings.

 

Brighton – Southern Belle, Hove. 6pm Saturday 10th Nov – Click here for more info and tickets

Alton, Staffordshire The Bulls Head, 7.30pm Thurs 29th Nov – Click here for more info and tickets

Sheffield Picture House Social, 7pm Fri 30th Nov – Click here for more info and tickets

Stone, Staffordshire – Venue TBC – Thurs 13th Dec – Contact us for more info

 

Whisky Tastings

Our whisky tastings are different to those hosted by our competitors. Our tastings are authentic. We’ve lived and worked at the coal face of spirit distilling. We’ve managed iconic malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, so when we talk to you about whisky, it is with passion and experience. We are not trying to sell you anything other than Scotland and its gift to the world, Scotch whisky.

We don’t work for any big brands, we are not sales representatives and we are not brand ambassadors but what we are is passionate about good single malt whisky.

We regularly host both private whisky tastings and ticketed whisky tastings throughout the United Kingdom.

What to Expect From Our Whisky Tastings

  • Always hosted by either David Wood (formerly Distillery Manager at Caol Ila Distillery on Islay or Leonie Wood formerly Marketing and Visitor Centre Manager at Kilchoman Distillery on Islay)
  • A tasting of at least six single malt whiskies from around Scotland
  • You’ll hear about the history of the Scotch whisky industry
  • A look into whisky production
  • How to taste whisky and choosing glassware
  • A fun and factual event exploring Scotch whiskies whilst avoiding the usual anecdotes

Private Whisky Tastings

Wherever you are in the UK (or further afield) we can host a private whisky tasting for you. Whether it be a whisky tasting for your corporate events or a whisky tasting for your clients or a whisky tasting for your stag party, please contact us for more information or to book.

Tastings in The Peak District

We are based in the Peak District National Park. If you are having a family gathering, a stag party or a hen party in the Peak District and you would like information about having us host either a gin tasting or whisky tasting for you in your accommodation please get in touch. We regularly host tastings in large self catering accommodation in the Peak District, including houses owned and managed by Party Houses UK and Peak Venues.

We provide everything you need for your whisky tasting or gin tasting in the Peak District, all we need from you is an area within the property where we can host the tasting.

Contact Us

To get in touch, please complete the form below and we will reply to you very quickly. Alternatively please call David on 07875 405 980.

 

 

The Islay Whisky Festival

Bunnahabhain Warehouse Experience

The Islay Whisky Festival

The Islay Whisky Festival comes around once a year and falls on the last week in May. During this fantastic celebration of all things Islay whisky, thousands of excited enthusiasts make their way to the magic Isle of Islay for a week of whisky events, tours, tastings and masterclasses. It is difficult to measure how many extra visitors, and how much extra income, the island gets due to the festival but it is commonly thought the island population rises from 2000 to over 10000 during the Festival week, in no means insignificant for the economy of the island.

Islay Whisky Tours

Each of the 8 malt whisky distilleries and Jura distillery too, have their own dedicated festival day. There is some overlap, Bowmore day is also Bridgend Square day and Islay Ales and the other businesses there also arrange events and enjoy a busy day of music, drams and general merriment. We love the Islay Whisky Festival and as well as hosting whisky and gin tastings and events in Leek, Staffordshire and throughout the UK, we will always host Islay whisky tastings at the Islay festival in the years to come.

Islay Whisky Festival Distillery Days

Each distillery publishes their festival events and releases tickets a few weeks before the Feis week. Most put on extra tours, special tastings and masterclasses and also other activities such as fast RIB boat rides and special guided water source walks. As the festival has become more and more popular, tickets tend to sell out faster, especially at the Kildalton distilleries of Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig, it is not unusual for all tickets to sell out on the first day of release. So if you are looking to attend an event, you’ll need to be quick!

Islay Whisky Tours

Islay Whisky Festival Bottlings

To celebrate the festival, each distillery has a special, limited release whisky bottling. In recent years, because the festival has become so well attended, these releases are not as small batch as they used to be. Only 5 or 6 years ago, distilleries were able to release single cask bottlings which enthusiasts would snap up and quite often sell at a profit on auction sites. Now distillers have decided to increase the size of the releases in an attempt to ensure that there are enough to satisfy the demand of visitors. There are still a few gems to be discovered though. During Feis Ile 2017 Bunnahabhain released a run of only 1596 bottles.

The peated spirit was distilled in 2004 and matured in American oak and then transferred to port pipes for a short finishing period. The resulting whisky, ‘Bunnahabhain Moine Port Pipe Finish’, as well as being a beautiful dram, was also a real small batch rarity for festival visitors to buy, and very good value at £95.

Islay Whisky Festival

As well as official distillery bottlings, it is now not uncommon to find festival releases from independent bottlers who arrange events during the festival. Quite often visitors arrive on the island during the festival only to find that all the distillery events are full. The independent bottlers, who only promote Islay whisky during the festival, are often able to accommodate these visitors on their tastings and masterclasses and therefore offer a valuable addition to the Festival.

I became Distillery Manager of Caol Ila Distillery in 2013 but before that, in 2008, I began releasing my own Islay Festival bottlings for the Queen of the Moorlands Single Malt Whisky brand which I owned at the time. The first was this delicious 1982 26 year old Caol Ila single cask whisky, which was to be the first ever independent Islay festival bottling.

Whisky Masterclasses at The Islay Whisky Festival 2017 – Distilled Events

In late Autumn 2015, I decided to leave Caol Ila and to start my own customer facing whisky events company, Distilled Events. This year this gave me the opportunity to arrange my own events at the whisky festival, and with the help of friends on Islay, we held two very well attended masterclasses at the Gaelic College in Bowmore.

Islay Whisky Masterclass

I was incredibly surprised and pleased at the support that my friends in the whisky industry were willing to give me. Guests were treated to ‘As We Get It Islay’ from Ian Macleod Distillers, an incredible pair of drams from Wm Cadenheads in the form of a 26 year old single cask Caol Ila and a 16 year old single cask Bowmore. Port Askaig Malts supplied us with a great young peaty dram, Port Askaig 8 year old, and just like ‘As We Get It’ the cat was really amongst the pigeons with guests arguing about the provenance of these tasty whiskies. From Chorlton Whisky we had an awesome 23 year old single cask Bunnahabhain which, just like all the other drams on show, went down a treat with our guests.

Islay Whisky Festival 2018

We are already making plans for our events at the Islay Whisky Festival 2018, the months will slip away and before we know it we will be enjoying festivities once again on Islay. Keep an eye on our tastings and events page and also on our Distilled Events Facebook page and you will then be able to buy tickets online once they are released.

We also arrange bespoke Guided Islay Distillery Experiences throughout the year, taking groups of enthusiasts to Islay on 5 or 7 day whisky trips packed with tours, tastings and masterclasses and enjoying all that Islay has to offer. If you are interested in joining us on a trip or if you would like more info about our bespoke Guided Islay Distillery Experiences, please click here.

Here are some pics from our events at the Islay Whisky Festival 2017. Enjoy.

Slainte

David

Islay Whisky Festival

Islay Whisky Tours

Islay Whisky Tour

Islay Whisky Tours

Islay whisky tour

Bunnahabhain

David Wood Islay

Guided Islay Distilleries Experience, April 2017

It All Started With Whisky Tastings in Leek

Thats me just back from a fantastic trip to the magical Isle of Islay. I’ve hosted trips to Islay for groups of whisky enthusiasts for many years, and this was the first of 2017. Our group was made up of 7 enthusiastic folk, some new to whisky, some seasoned enthusiasts, all set to visit Islay for the first time. We’d first talked of arranging this trip way back in September 2017, and it didn’t take long to fill it as word got round the regulars at The Earl Grey Inn in Leek that we would be Islay bound next spring.

Pinkie Lagavulin

Preparing for an Islay Whisky Trip Of a Lifetime

I had tried to prepare those that signed up for the expedition, I’d tried to explain what incredible experiences awaited them on the whisky isle, but it is very hard to do, very hard to describe the beauty and magic of Islay. The only way is to experience it at first hand, to make the long journey by road to the Calmac ferry terminal at Kennacraig, around the sea lochs of Argyll, to visit the distilleries and historic sites and to meet the people of Islay who make most beautifully complex whiskies in the world.

There is nowhere else in the world that makes whisky that truly speaks of the landscape, whisky that when you stick your nose in the glass and have a good sniff it transports you to where it was distilled, the peat reek betraying it’s provenance. The island is certainly responsible for luring me in to the whisky world many years ago, I remember being given a glass of Caol Ila for the first time and being left in a state of shock by the intensity of its nose alone, even before I experienced the wonderful acidity and zestiness on the palate.

My guests were in for a life changing treat.

Islay Distillery tours

The Perfect Base For a Whisky Trip

Our guests were due to arrive on the Monday evening ferry arriving at Port Askaig, they would then be collected by minibus from Islay Taxi and Minibus Hire. After a long journey from Staffordshire I knew they would be ready to sit in front of a roaring log fire and enjoy a couple of drams, even if they’d probably taken advantage of the malt of the month offer in the bar on the ferry.

Our accommodation for the week was to be Octovullin Farmhouse which I often use for both whisky and fishing trips as it is extremely comfortable, spacious and well equipped.

Islay Whisky Trip Itinerary

TUESDAY

After a grand night’s sleep, and a hearty breakfast with meats supplied by Porters Butchers in Bowmore it was time to introduce our guests to Islay. (I’ve included our full itinerary below so that you can see exactly what one of our Guided Islay Distilleries Experiences looks like in detail). At 9am our cheerful driver Kenneth arrived to collect us and off we weeched our guests to their first distillery, the first distillery being Ardbeg no less. Here our guests enjoyed an in-depth tour with Ross and after that, they were to be treated to a tasting of many whiskies from the full range of Ardbeg. Smiles were all around, the biggest of all being on the face of our Paul who had set himself the challenge of finding a whisky to beat his favourite, Ardbeg 10 year old. He was to have much fun in his quest. And so were we.

After our tasting we wandered down to the pier with a dram and gazed out to sea. Who else should put in an appearance but the otter. Perfect, right on cue.

Ardbeg Distillery

Islay Distillery Tour

A packed itinerary meant that there was no time to stay for lunch at the popular Old Kiln Cafe as we had a date with Bruichladdich Distillery at 1pm. No horses were spared during Kenneth’s mission to deliver us in time for our next tour and tasting at Bruichladdich. This distillery built in 1881, the same year as Bunnahabhain in the North of the island, was built at a time when the whisky industry was in boom, due not least because of the decimation of the vineyards in Europe through the outbreak of the phylloxera epidemic. Cognac and Claret had been the alcoholic drinks of choice at the time and the canny Scotts stepped in to save the day by developing and marketing the Scotch industry.

We had another great tour at what is about as close as one can get to being a working Victorian distillery, and then it was time for our guests to enjoy their first visit to one of the island’s fine dunnage warehouses for a tasting, this time straight from casks, and hosted by my former Caol Ila colleague Heather. Heather has first hand experience of many of the Islay distilleries, after being lucky enough to work in many of them. She was good craic and kept our guests fully entertained and supplied with awesome vintage Laddies.

Islay Distillery Tour

We tasted some wonderful drams straight from the cask, the most popular being a stunning 1989 vintage American oak matured laddie. Delicious. After a full range tasting at Ardbeg, and now another flight of truly awesome drams my guests were beginning to feel the effect so it was off to the shop to pick up some bottles including the distillery only bottling known as ‘Valinch’. There is always at least one cask at Bruichladdich where visitors can bottle their own whisky, it is named valinch after the pipette type instrument used to draw cask samples. I’m told that valinch means ‘cask thief’ in Gaelic.

Islay Distillery Tour

We thought that after all that whisky, a little fresh air was the order of the day so Kenneth pointed the bus in the direction of Machir Bay and of we set for the beach, however, we would of course need to call in to Kilchoman Distillery as it seemed a while since we’d had a dram. Once again, bottles were eagerly gathered and finally we made our way to the beach. For one of us, tired and emotional, a wee paddle in the sea was the perfect antidote.

WEDNESDAY

If Tuesday wasn’t busy enough for my lucky guests, Wednesday was to packed with distillery activities and once again we headed off down to the South end of the island, to the Kildalton coast to visit the iconic Lagavulin and Laphroaig distilleries.

At 9.30, the guys joined the tour of Lagavulin Distillery hosted by Sophie, before being taken down to a stunning dunnage warehouse where they would meet the Lagavulin Legend, Iain McArthur, a man who I’d had the pleasure of working with regularly in my years at Caol Ila and Lagavulin. Iain’s Warehouse Demonstrations are famous the world over and people travel thousands of miles to hear his anecdotes and to have good craic whilst tasting awesome drams straight from the casks filled with various vintages of lovely Lagavulin. The tasting began though with a wee taste of the 2016 Islay Jazz Festival bottling which were still available in the distillery visitor centre, there would be a few less in the shop that morning.

Islay Distillery Tour

After visiting the Kildalton Cross and Chapel, it was time for Laphroaig where we would enjoy a distillery tour followed by drams. It was great to see traditional malt floors and kilning, and perfect for demonstrating how peaty Islay drams really speak of their provenance. The peat reek was starting to come in to play.

Islay Distillery Tour

We had an hour or so spare at the end of the day so Kenneth took us back up through Port Ellen and Bridgend via the High Road to Finlaggan, once the seat of The Lord of The Isles, and one of the most important historical sites in all of Scotland. The guests certainly appreciated a few lung fulls of good Islay fresh air after another day packed with stunning drams.

Islay Distillery Tour

THURSDAY

And so the final day had come, and it was time to head for good old Caol Ila where until recently I was Distillery Manager. Caol Ila is by far the largest distillery on Islay, but that does not mean that the quality of spirit is any less. My go to dram was, and still is, and probably always will be from Caol Ila. We were met by my successor, Ed Thom who kindly looked after us for the morning, for which I and my guests were most grateful not just because of how well he looked after us but because he was also off on annual leave. Half way through the tasting, I realised that everyone had gone very quiet as we were sat in the cooperage at Caol Ila. I realised that a lot of pennies were beginning to drop and that guests were now really starting to understand the array and diversity of different spirit styles, flavours and profiles. They were also starting to realise that they were having the time of their lives.

Islay Distillery Tour

Islay Distillery Tour

Proud to boast and show off my signatures and initials on various bottles in the distillery visitor centre, much to the amusement of Ed, many bottles were gathered and it was time to point the bus North, to another old stomping ground of mine, and a distillery very close to my heart. Bunnahabhain. At Bunnahabhain we were treated to a comprehensive tour and warehouse experience by the ever enthusiastic and knowledgeable David. We tasted incredible Bunnahabhains from an array of single casks but this time guests were able to buy and bottle their own drams in wee bottles, many of which will no doubt be proudly displayed in Staffordshire whisky cabinets.

It was time for the last distillery visit of the week, this time at Bowmore, the first distillery on Islay to be given a license to distill back in 1779. Although this was the last distillery visit, it was not the last whisky experience. I had quietly planned with the help of a very good friend that my guests would enjoy a little peat cutting to round off their Islay experience, which all enjoyed, not least because of the tutor host.

 

Join Us on a Whisky Trip to Islay

We had enjoyed perfect weather throughout our week, the food was fantastic, our hosts obliging, the whisky sang as ever and our guests eager to enjoy the experience as much as possible. Whether it is fishing experiences or whisky trips that I’m arranging it sometimes feels like cheating. Whether stood in a loch casting a line, catching or not catching, whether enjoying a dram on an Islay beach or in a dunnage warehouse, Islay does my work for me, my guests are blown away by the surroundings, the landscapes, the people, and the whisky. It is indeed a stunning place, and a place that is life changing for each who visits.

If you would like to join us for an experience of a lifetime, please get in touch. We arrange scheduled trips during the year but we also arrange bespoke Guided Distillery Experiences for groups of friends or colleagues, we can tailor the trip to suit your time constraints, size of group and the amount of activities you would like to enjoy. As well as distillery tours and experiences we arrange sea safari adventures, shooting, fishing and many other exciting things to do.

Lagavulin Warehouse Experience Distilled Events

Islay Shooting

Islay Distillery Tour

 

 

ITINERARY (For info)

MONDAY 03/03/17

8.25pm            Ferry arrives at Port Ellen Islay

8.30pm            Guests collected by Islay Taxis Minibus from Port Ellen Ferry Terminal

9.00pm            Guests arrive at Octovullin Farmhouse, rooms allocated on arrival

9.30pm            Welcome drams in the drawing room

TUESDAY 04/04/17

9.00am             Minibus collects guests from Octovullin

10.00am           ARDBEG DISTILLERY. Distillery tour followed by Full Range Tasting

12.10pm            Minibus collects guests from Ardbeg

1.00pm             BRUICHLADDICH DISTILLERY. Distillery tour followed by Warehouse Experience

3.30pm             Minibus collects guests from Bruichladdich

4.00pm             KILCHOMAN DISTILLERY. Brief visit to shop, weather dependent trip to Machir Bay

5.30pm             Minibus returns guests to Octovullin

WEDNESDAY 05/04/17

8.30am             Minibus collects guests from Octovullin

9.30am             LAGAVULIN DISTILLERY. Distillery tour followed by Warehouse Experience

12.15pm            Minibus collects guests from Lagavulin. Visit Kildalton Cross and Claggan Bay

2.00pm            LAPHROAIG DISTILLERY. Distillery Tour

3.30pm            Minibus collects guests from Laphroaig

4.00pm            Visit Finlaggan Castle

5.00pm            Minibus returns guests to Octovullin

THURSDAY 06/04/17

8.30am            Minibus collects guests from Octovullin

9.30am            CAOL ILA DISTILLERY. Distillery Tour

10.45am          Minibus collects guests from Caol Ila. En route to Bunnahabhain chance to see new site of Ardnahoe Distillery.

11.30am           BUNNAHABHAIN DISTILLERY. Tour and Warehouse Experience

2.00pm            Minibus collects guests from Bunnahabhain

2.30pm            BOWMORE DISTILLERY. Distillery Tour

3.45pm            Minibus collects guests

4.00pm            Visit ISLAY ALES and ISLAY STUDIOS in Bridgend Square

5.00pm            Minibus collects guests and returns to Octovullin

FRIDAY 07/04/17

8.30am            Minibus collects guests from Octovullin and takes to port for ferry departure

 

 

 

Islay – An Incredible Experience

Stag party whisky tastings

 

We’ve been lucky enough to live and work on the magical Hebridean Isle of Islay. After owning and managing our own busy Wine Shop in Leek, Staffordshire, and after launching our own brand of Single Malt Whisky, I was given the opportunity of managing the visitor centre experiences at Lagavulin and Caol Ila Distilleries and later of managing Caol Ila itself.

Our home was the old Exciseman’s house at Caol Ila Distillery, on summer days the view along the Sound of Islay (Caol Ila) was breathtaking, on winter days one storm followed another up the Sound. The scenery and wildlife was incredible. Seeing white tailed sea eagle, golden eagle and otter was almost a daily occurrence.

As well as my love for the breathtaking Islay scenery, the great whiskies and wonderful people, I also fell in love with the fishing. There can’t be many places in Europe or maybe even the world where the keen angler has such ease of access to so many different species of fish such as brown trout, salmon, bass and my favourite, the elsewhere ellusive sea trout.

 

The Sound of Islay

My love of Islay began in the late 1990s. There’s a fantastic pub in Leek called The Earl Grey Inn, under its current ownership it is famed for its many real and craft ales, service and friendliness. In the 90’s it was famous for its peculiar interior, its toilets, its rather eccentric clientelle and its extensive range of single malt whiskies thanks to the landlord’s enthusiasm for the product. I had only recently tasted single malts and didn’t think I liked them, I thought they all tasted the same, I thought they all tasted like whisky. Until one evening when John thrust a glass of Caol Ila 12 year old into my hand and instructed me to taste it. I will never forget that moment and it was a life changing one.

The Isle of Islay introduced herself to me through that glass of Caol Ila 12 year old. The intense, smokey aromas and flavours told me about where this incredibly complex whisky had been made, it told me about Islay, and I had to visit.

In the coming years at The Wine Shop, we began to bottle whisky, lots of it, and most of it from Islay. We bottled everything, Caol Ila, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bruichladdich and even Port Ellen. We were lucky enough to get the chance to bottle some incredible whiskies, and this in turn took us to Islay, exhibiting our single cask bottlings each year at the Islay Festival of Malt and Music and delivering them to shops and bars on the island so that they could be enjoyed by many visiting enthusiasts.

In June 2012, I was given the chance to work at Lagavulin and Caol Ila Distilleries and I jumped at the chance. 8 months later I was joined by Leonie and Heather, once the Wine Shop had been sold. Leonie joined Kilchoman Distillery where she managed the busy visitor centre and Heather enrolled at the local primary school with circa 25 other pupils.

Lagavulin Distillery

Caol Ila Distillery

We had an incredible time on Islay and met and worked with lots of wonderful people. The experience we had will never be forgotten and was truly life changing. As a whisky enthusiast, to end up working at the distillery where your favourite whisky is produced is absolutely Living The Dream.

Islay is the true whisky Isle and there are currently 8 working distilleries on the island with advanced plans for at least 2 more to be built in the next couple of years.

Islay is often thought of as the island that produces the heavily peated drams, but actually, it is the array of different spirit characters produced by each of the distilleries which makes it so diverse and therefore of such interest to the whisky enthusiast. Anyone who has tasted Bunnahabhain 12 year old and then compared it to Laphroaig 10 year old or Lagavulin 16 year old will understand that.

Because of my love for Islay, my tastings will always have an element of Islay bias. We are however hosting a series tasting events in the near future that feature single malt whiskies exclusively from Islay. During the tasting, as well as experiencing many whiskies from the Isle of Islay, I’ll be talking about whisky production and maturation, and give an overview of each of the distilleries on Islay. I’ll also be touching on controversial issues such as the dreaded question about water, ice and other additives!

It would be great to see you at one of our future events and to share a dram with you. Please click on the links below if you would like to find out more about our Islay Malt Whisky Tastings or to buy tickets.

Click here for our upcoming events.

 

Slainte

David