Desert Island Drams – Mark Newton

Mark has run the whisky website Malt for nearly 5 years, has written for Whisky Magazine where he was an official taster for 2017 and has also been a whisky judge for the Spirits Masters.



He currently works as Head of Communications for Waterford Distillery.

‘My choice of whisky?
Without hesitation I would choose a Caol Ila Feis Ile 2013.
There are a few reasons that this is my desert island dram.
The first is because it’s a bloody awesome whisky. A perfect mixture of oil, ash and sweetness. That should be the primary reason.
I’ve actually gone through two bottles of this. The first was bought by my wife, on our honeymoon on Islay 3 years ago, so it already starts with a special reason: being on Islay and being in love. I had been on the hunt for a fantastic Caol Ila for some time, because I love this distillery and thought it offered fantastic value for money.
In fact, I think it’s one of the best distilleries in the world, but it’s never been treated too well. So to find this, and to be blown away by the complexity, was a revelation.
This bottle really proved the quality of this distillery – so much so, that I bought two bottles of it and drank both within 3 years! I need to get another. It’s a sublime example of just what a good distillery Caol Ila is, and personally I think Diageo are not using it to its full potential. They’re being dazzled by distilleries such as Lagavulin and you know what? That’s fine.
Look away from Caol Ila because that keeps its whiskies at a reasonable price, without speculators and too many auction flippers. Caol Ila is the most underrated of the Islay distilleries.
I’ll be honest, though, my love of this whisky is a mixture of place, time, location and emotion. Which is one of the best things about whisky: it isn’t just a drink. It’s much more than that. Not every bottle – despite it’s amazing flavour profile – will strike me in both head and heart, and that’s what this has done. It is a beautiful whisky in and of itself, but it means more than that to me.’


Read more Desert Island Dram Articles here.

You can find tasting notes and whisky news in the Amateur Drammers Archives.

Like to recieve monthly updates? Why not join my mailing list?

Want to comment on my article? Feel free to Contact Me.