Whisky Live – London 2014

Whisky Corner takes in Whisky Live for the first time

Twitter friends Selfie WLIt’s a lovely sunny day down in London, after a 9 hour coach journey, we were pleased to stretch out our legs and take in a bit of London culture first, for culture read “The Emirates” for Stewart and then across town for a couple of meetings.

Dave, Stewart & Kirsty WLBefore we knew it, it was time for the show to start, set in a historic 18th Century mansion, with a very impressive six acre garden, it really was a perfect venue.  It’s hard to believe we were still pretty much in the centre of London, just round the corner from both Moorgate and Liverpool Street Stations.

Unfortunately when we arrived we were given a very large wine glass, as the glencairns were yet to be delivered, hard to believe I know but true.

The shop was well stocked and doing a roaring trade by all accounts, and it was fantastic to meet up with friends, both old and new.

Meeting Friends at WLThe layout was well thought out, and we had a great time meeting and talking with all the exhibitors.  I can’t comment on the master classes as we didn’t attend any but I do have a few tasting notes of just a few I sampled.

So would I recommend Whisky Live London as an event, yes, and the location alone is lovely.  As an introduction to whisky festivals this isn’t a bad place at all to start.

Amy and Kirsty enjoying a dram WLThe Good

The location which was quite frankly, wonderful.

Friendly, knowledgeable exhibitors

Catching up with friends

The timescale a very generous 5pm – 10pm

Trade access from 3pm (which was very useful)

Excellent communication pre festival to arrange the trade tickets, really helpful, patient and informative administrators.

The Bad

A little sparse on exhibitors (although, that said, the exhibitors there were there, were very good, with some top quality drammage)

More master classes and better announcement thereof wouldn’t have gone amiss.

The Ugly

No glencairns for the first hour, I am sure that the organisers were terribly let down, but was very strange to taste whisky in the largest wine glasses known to man.

Festival Highlights……

There are so many it’s hard to choose, we met some fantastic exhibitors and drank some amazing whisky, but my highlight has to be helping out with Chip Tate and Emily Harris on the Balcones Stand, as things really started to get hectic.

25Yo Girvan First dram of the day was the Girvan 25yo a grain whisky which is bottled at 42% – £250 – This will be available through independent retailers and specialised whisky shops.

Nose:

A far heavier nose than I expected for a grain delicious buttery, sweet notes, vanilla and soft oak.  A slight hint of apples, pears and boiled sweets and honey with a malted biscuit edge.

Palate:

Superb, sticky warm fudge, bananas en flambe, a delicate orange blossom, with a hint of the bitter pith.  Rich buttery tarte tatin, good quality vanilla pods, and lashing of warm pineapples and cream make way for all spice and cloves and cinnamon.  A slight dark chocolate edge comes through with a sweet rolled oats and overripe mango.

Finish

Oily and mouth coating, warming and chewy, with a fantastic creamy sweet finish which goes on and on.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company – Maverick Drinks Company

Boutique y Whisky
Boutique y Whisky

Independent Kilchoman bottled at 55.5% £68.95

Nose:

New make spirit, fizzy lemon sherbet, freshly cut grass, warm hay, sage and lemon oil.

Palate:

Hot and drying, the lemon on the nose is here but far softer, a touch of Dijon mustard hits hard, before the softer sweeter notes start coming through.  Vanilla and soft Demerara sugar, with a touch of white pepper.

Finish

Short but memorable, the sharp, new make and grassy notes are first to fade, leaving behind the sweet toffee notes, finishing with a lovely flavour reminiscent of White American Hard Gums.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company – Maverick Drinks Company

Independent Caol Ila – bottled at 55.5% £54.95

Nose:

Exactly what you would expect from Caol Ila, briny, salty, sweet seaweed, sweet fleshy scallops, sea spray with a gentle smoke and peat.

Palate:

Very oily in the mouth, smoke and peat hitting the very roof of the mouth, still getting the brine but not perhaps as strong as you would have imagined.  The sweetness is there, alongside a rougher heavy rope, with hints of the pier.

Finish

Long and delicious, slightly drying, this is a dram you would never tire of drinking.

Glen Moray 16 – bottled at  40% £35 from http://www.glenmoray.com

Nose:

Rich, sweet with vanilla and a hint of white wine being the fore notes, then in comes Christmas, all those lovely dried stewed fruits you would expect from something sherried, warm figs drizzled with honey and sweet heather, raisins.  Reminiscent of browsing an old book shop, a slight mustiness, and leather bound books.

Palate:

Sweet yet drying, plums and figs dance on your tongue, the lovely bitter chocolate notes come through, slight ripe cherry notes and kirsch and a dusting of icing sugar

Finish

Medium and full, ending in a rich maltiness.

A fantastic good value dram, what I would call a great session whisky that would be wonderful at any time!

Glen Moray 25yo Portwood Finish – bottled at 43% £149.95 from www.royalmilewhiskies.com

This is super limited edition and its easy to see why, bottled in 1986.

Nose:

Fruity, tart, sharp, crisp green apples, followed by cherries, lily pollen, honeycomb and heavy cherry blossom.

Palate:

The apples promised on the nose are first to make themselves known, softening into soft grainy pear, sugared orange peel and sweet mandarin with just a touch of perfumed parsnips and a hint of Christmas cake.

Finish

Long lasting and complex.  If you can get your hands on this, then you should.

Glen Gairoch
Glen Gairoch

Glen Gairoch 1995 Vintage 2012 Cask: 1st Fill Bourbon – Bottled at 55.3% – £62.00

Nose:

Lovely and sweet, caramel, rice pudding, think sticky toffee sponge topped with stewed apples and warm honeyed figs

Palate:

The apple promised on the nose is first through on the palate, followed by those lovely sweet dessert flavours, caramel, vanilla, molasses, bananas and a lovely buttery pancake all follow in quick succession.

Finish:

Coffee notes and oak with a residual sweetness linger on the palate.  This really is an amazing dram and well worth the money.

Thanks again to Alasdair for all the time spent with us, it was really appreciated, not once were we hurried along.  Alasdair really knows his stuff and was a pleasure to speak to.

The Teeling Whiskey Stall

Kirsty & TeelingWhat can I tell you!  Everything we tried was outstanding! The lovely, very shiny awards were on display and these guys are really putting Irish whiskey on the map, you NEED to try their whiskey!  The Teeling Small Batch and the Teeling Vintage Reserve really are fantastic, and it’s little wonder the awards are flooding in.

Teeling Wizard of Whisky AwardThanks to both Stephen and Sam for all their time and knowledge, oh and for letting me have my very own “Oscar moment” with their awards, cheers guys.

There are so many more amazing drams we tried that I still need to write up and I will, but for now, that’s all folks.

Whisky Corner would like to thank Whisky Live 2014 for kindly providing us with trade tickets.

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