Islay's famous Feis Ile festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but fans can still enjoy the spirit of it at home.

It’s one of the most anticipated calendar dates for whisky fans, but the cancellation of this spring’s world-famous Feis Ile festival won’t stop Bunnahabhain from throwing its (virtual) doors open to all.

The virtual festival

Feis Ile Festival virtual

While physical celebrations are on hold due to social distancing guidelines, Bunnahabhain is inviting whisky fans from across the globe to ‘Feis at Home’ and transporting them to the shores of Islay via a special virtual tasting of not one, but two new festival editions.

Hosted by whisky expert Dave Broom, Bunnahabhain distillery manager Andrew Brown will be joined by master blender Julianne Fernandez, master distiller Stephen Woodcock and visitor centre manager Dr Billy Sinclair for the live stream on Friday 29th of May from 8pm.

The group will lead whisky fans through a tasting and take part in a panel discussion about the two limited-edition expressions being released to mark the occasion.

Tasting kits available to purchase from the Bunnahabhain website will allow people to follow along from the comfort of their home. And it wouldn’t be Feis Ile without a few surprises – with exclusive details on a new product to be revealed live during the tasting.

Ahead of the tasting, visitor centre manager Dr Billy Sinclair will take friends of Bunnahabhain on a Facebook Live tour around the distillery and island – a chance to get the full Feis Ile experience from afar.

Eagle eyed viewers will also have the chance to win a trip to the festival in person in 2021, with competition details announced on the first tour to go live on Bunnahabhain’s Facebook page at 10am on Friday the 29th of May.

Bunnahabhain distillery manager, Andrew Brown, said: “Our world famous ‘Music and Malt’ festival here on Islay is a pilgrimage for many a Bunnahabhain fan and we love greeting them here at the distillery.

“We’ll miss seeing some familiar faces in person, but Feis Ile is always warm and welcoming, so we’re embracing the fact that live streaming technology will allow even more people to join in this year.

“We’ve got a great panel of experts on board to talk through our wonderful new festival editions, and anyone who’s visited Feis Ile before will know that’s not all we’ve got up our sleeve.

“You’ll have to tune in to find out more, but we can guarantee a memorable festival, even if it’s not running exactly as we had planned.”

How to join

On sale information on Bunnahabhain’s new festival editions will be announced later this week.

Bunnahabhain’s virtual ‘Feis at Home’ events will take place on Friday the 29th of May.

A virtual tasting and panel discussion of two new festival editions will take place at at 8pm.

Live streams from the distillery on Islay will take place at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 6.30pm.

Tasting kits can be purchased from – the Bunnahabhain website priced at £16.50. Please ensure orders are placed by 25th of May (UK) or 18th of May (rest of world) to avoid disappointment.

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About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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