Islay Whisky Academy @ Fèis Ìle 2023


A full programme of Islay Whisky Academy events for Fèis Ìle / Islay Festival

Festival season is upon us once again and planes and ferries will soon be packed full of whisky lovers who have travelled from all over the world to visit Islay for the 2023 edition of Fèis Ìle. As always there are a host of wonderful events to choose from, including open days from each of the island’s distilleries (and Jura!) but those looking to try something a little bit different should check out the Islay Whisky Academy.

The Islay Whisky Academy is an island-based institution that provides educational and enriching experiences that deepen our connection with Scotch whisky. For this year’s Fèis, Academy founder and creative genius Rachel MacNeill has designed a series of events that will offer an intriguing alternative to the well-trodden path.

As well as an open day packed with whisky, music and culture, the Academy will be running some other events around the island. See full details below.

The Open Day will take place on Thursday 1st June at the Rhinns Hall in Portnahaven. All welcome.

Islay Rocks

Saturday 27th May. 3:15 pm. Port Ellen.

Hosted by local expert David Webster, we will take you through the Rocks of Islay to explore the physical heritage of our island.

With 4 stunning Single Malt Islay drams in hand, investigate how water and landscape come together to influence whisky production.

A Taste of Scotch and Scottish Shamanism

Monday 29th May. 3:15 pm. Location to be confirmed (weather dependent).

The Islay Whisky Academy is bringing magic to Fèis Ìle.  

This is a light-hearted introduction to the spirits of the four quarters: North, South, East and West – paired with 4 stellar drams.

Islay Whisky Academy Open Day

Thursday 1st June. 10 am – 6 pm. Rhinns Hall, Portnahaven.

Be spellbound, enthused, enticed, excited, amazed. Enjoy Kinship, community, culture and fantastic Scotch whisky. 

Learn the Language of Scotch

10:30 am. Islay Whisky Academy Open Day.

Come along to the Language of Scotch workshop and learn the foundations of the Gaelic language – through a whisky perspective.

Using the Gaelic flavour wheel created by Rachel MacNeill, sample three single malts and learn how to talk about aroma notes in Gaelic.

Courting the Dram Workshop

12:15 pm. Islay Whisky Academy Open Day.

Immerse yourself in five unique whiskies. You are invited to explore the possibilities of sensation and deconstruct the dram.

Featuring interactive exercises, thought experiments, and engaging discussions, you will be challenged to develop your nosing and tasting skills.

Ceol Mor & Scotch Experience

13:30 pm. Islay Whisky Academy Open Day

The structure of a good whisky and the structure of Ceòl Mòr are essentially similar. 

Listen to four distinct piping tunes, matched with 4 distinct whiskies.

Discuss how the flow of each dram corresponds with the flow of each tune. 

The Whisky and Witches Show

3:15 pm – 5:15 pm. Islay Whisky Academy Open Day.

Be immersed in a Mystical, Magical, Musical Experience.

Hear haunting songs that explore Scottish and Nordic Mythology.

Experience an immersive tasting, exploring 6 Single Cask drams.

The Islay Whisky Academy Open Day will also feature a session of Poetry & Whisky at 11:45 am and Drams & Storytelling at 2:45 pm. There will be live music throughout the day, a whisky bar and a cafe. Come along and let the Islay Whisky Academy Share the Spirit of Scotland!

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