If you think day three started with a queue, you’d be wrong…..Not that there wasn’t one, there was, and it was raining. But before that, we had a blogger get together at a coffee shop in Vinopolis. It was great to chat with fellow bloggers, and finally connect the actual people to their @twitter handles. They are really great guys, with a tremendous passion for whisky and a wealth of knowledge, and I’m proud to count them as friends.
The trade day of the Whisky Show is meant for trade professional and media to have time to exchange views, get up to date on the new happenings and new releases in the trade. There were also a couple of masterclasses, meant to introduce new whiskies, but for the most part, it really was a chance to calmly chat and taste some of the better offerings each distillery brought.
Before the Macallan masterclass led by David Miles (attended mainly for the bonus dram – the Fine Oak 21 which I have yet to taste), I went to say hello to the Maxxium people, and went to the masterclass clutching two 25 year old whiskies: A Laphroaig 25 and a Macallan Sherry Oak 25. The 1824 Series itself is not the epitome of whisky making, with the Sienna being the best of the bunch there, in my humble opinion. The Fine Oak 21, however, is really good.
There were a couple of hours until the Bruichladdich masterclass, and I used them to get to know the upper range of Glenglassaugh (the 40 year old, the vintage 1972 and the absolutely stunning 35 year old 1978 “Massandra Connection” Massandra Madiera finish), Glengoyne (the 35) and the new Craigellechie 31, as well as the new and rather disappointing Mortlach 25.
It was then time for lunch and the presentation of the new “Islay Barley” expressions led by Bruichladdich’s Joanne Brown (@job_islay), an Islay native who’s uncle is the proprietor of Octomore Farms with a tasting that included the the Bruichladdich Scottish Barley (not lactic, and enjoyable, I was surprised!), the Islay Barley (some lactic notes, but not unbearably strong), the Black Art 04.1 1990 (which I reviewed last month, here) and then the two really new introductions: the Port Charlotte Islay Barley and the Octomore 06.3 which I already reviewed here.
You can tell how much interest this masterclass commanded by the number of bloggers who took part in it (Here in a panoramic view to the left and right of me, sans Steve Rush who was sitting right next to me on the right):
By the time the masterclass was over, we were nearing the end of the show, and a final round of goodbys and last tastings was in order, and I started out with The Balvenie’s new Tun 1509, which replaced the acclaimed Tun 1401, and The upcoming Karuizawa 1981 (33 years old), a GlenDronach single cask (1995 PX cask) and the Old Particular Ardbeg 21, which was a very worthy dram to finish off the 2014 Whisky Show.
To complete my London Experience, my friend Richard Barr (@barrrichard) was in London, and we had a steak dinner and some smashing drams of the October outturn at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which merits its own report. I will, however share one small tip with you: 39.99!
To sum things up: The sheer concentration of whiskies, whisky people and special “one off” masterclasses makes this event the one to be at. I’ll be at the 2015 show, and hope to see you there 🙂