Taking place during October, 6th and 7th, The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show is a fantastic, although expensive, experience that you can’t miss if like me you love single malt whiskies.
Here I am! In London! For TWE Whisky Show. As Oliver Klimet from Dramming is also going to attend it we plan together a meeting in London for a few beers and nice british pub food at Lord Wargraves. Billy Abbot from The Whisky Exchange also join us.
The place is nicely decorated with lots of blackboards with stuff they “Love to eat”, Oliver order ribs and they said that the stuff on the blackboards are things they love to eat but that for orders we need to check the menu on the paper. *grin* I feel like being in Spain :)
We have a nice evening and Billy was a great host. And after dinner ( at 19:00! At that time in Spain I am still having a coffee ) he take us to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Super place! Lots of bottles of SMWS and no idea what to have. I go for an Islay one and get a 21 years old Caol Ila, Oliver gets a sherried one and Billy after a full day working on the show gets a beer.
I can’t go without a photo and the guys tell us to take it behind the counter. We almost take several bottles down. Embarrasing accident although no whisky was damaged. :S
Late already! I need to wake up early tomorrow to prepare myself for the greatest Whisky show ever!
Good morning London!
After having a typical British breakfast, no sorry, just joking… I can’t imagine myself having all that stuff for breakfast. I just went to a pastry, La pain quotidien, near Stoney St. with very nice stuff inside and have a “proper” breakfast there.
Being having breakfast for almost an hour. Boring. I decide to go outside and miss the only free Wifi hotspot that I have found in London. There were already six whisky-zealots waiting to enter on the show. Still 50 minutes for the show to start.
There is already a nice queue to enter the show. At least today it is a sunny, hot day. Looks like Spain with bricks on walls.
Ok, five minutes to enter. Come on! Come on, Miguel! You know the plan!
My plan was to check in, turn back, climb the stairs, run though the hall, turn left at the end, run again, finally climb the last flight of stairs and shout while I was turning right to Diageo stand “Here is my token sir! I want a dram of Lagavulin 21“…
Ok, Go! Go! Go!. Very fast check-in. I got a wrist, a map of the halls with a list of the dream drams and a glass and I start running as fast as I can. I will have my dram of Lagavulin 21! Yeah! I have spend a madness in this one-day travel but if I can taste the oldest Lagavulin I have ever seen all will be worth the money and effort.
What the f***! No Lagavulin 21? Are you serious man!? There are 2600 bottles for whole world and you can’t take two to the Show?! I am really really dissapointed with Diageo for this unworthy cheap behaviour.
6 points less for each Diageo whisky I tasted in the next ten years!. Well, never mind!, pour in some pesky Talisker 35 years old. There was also a bottle of Brora and a bit of Port Ellen under the counter, but I preferred the Talisker because I have tasted less of them.
Also this is the oldest Talisker released up to the date.
Just trust me, the Talisker 35 years old was a fantastic whisky, hugely different proposal to the 30yo sherry granny. It looks like a bourbon cask with lots of floral, peat, honey and pepper notes. Very good one, but I wanted Lagavulin 21! >:-X
I am in a bad mood, perfect timing to taste some Cardhu. Diageo had there the two new Cardhu bottles to
rip-off conquer the palates of my fellow countrymen. Both Cardhu 15yo and 18yo were very Cardhu-like whisky with the 18 years old being slightly less sherried than 15 years old and in my opinion slightly better. None of them really shine.
Time to move from here. I can’t stand my disappointment. Bad Diageo, bad! You have ruined my day.
Ok, so now I had two options, Balvenie or Johnnie Walker stand. Yeah, you guessed it. I needed a real whisky to forget the Diageo’s cheap behaviour, so I went to Johnnie Walker… just kidding. I really was in need of good whisky so I went to Balvenie. Never disappointed by it.
The Balvenie stand
They have perhaps the best stand in the whole show with lots of tools for do the malting and a few sacks of barley as well as a cooperman breaking apart and building from staves a whisky cask. Looks easy. I will do with my cask when I return home :)
Ok, this is definitively a better proposal. Nice range of whisky on Balvenie. Two catch my eye: Balvenie New Make and Balvenie 14 years old Caribbean Cask.
If you follow my blog, you know what I think of new make ( I don’t like it at all ), but I have to say that I was conquered by the sweetness of floral honey aromas of Balvenie newmake. Nothing like I have tried before. Really nice.
Then I tasted Caribbean Cask 14 years old. Very nice whisky. Not sure it is better than 12 years old Doublewood ( one of my favorites budget whiskies! ), but definitively very nice with lots of notes of vanilla and candies.
Ok, next hard decision. Johnnie Walker or Jameson. This one is really hard. I just have a look and the Jameson stand was full of pretty girls. No brainer!
Jameson Distillery stand
Lots of bottles of Jameson distillery with some very interesting ones ( *ejem* Diageo learn *ejem* ), I was really interested in Green Spot and Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Whiskies.
Green Spot is a definitively Irish whiskey, very floral and citrusy. Not bad at all, but I felt in love with Yellow Spot, bottled at 46% really did the trick and has a great sweetness of Malaga wines ( something similar to Moscatel sherries ). Definitively a very good one.
Then I used my best good-boy-face and asked for a dram of Middleton. Superb whisky! Perhaps one of the best Irish whiskies I have had that is pure to the Irish style.
Hahaha! This is getting harder. Chivas or Johnnie Walker. Yeah, I see you sweating and thinking what to do.
Chivas – Glenlivet stand
I dediced for Chivas stand as they have also there Ballantines 30 years old and some very interesting Glenlivets. I went for a Chivas 25 years old first, impressive blended whisky. In fact Chivas whiskies get serious above 18 years old.
Chivas 12 years old was the first whisky I ever tasted … and I didn’t drink anymore whisky in the next three years. This stuff on the other hand will turn anyone into whisky.
Now tasting Ballantine’s 30 years old… I know I am not going to enjoy it… but anyway, it is my duty!.
I have it on the glass. On the nose it doesn’t look like 30 years old, subtle with notes of vanilla and citrus as well as some spices and liquorice. Similar experience to tasting 17 years old… I really don’t enjoy such subtle whiskies. It isn’t bad but I prefer something more powerful.
Meeting the Maker with a dram in hand
Middleton Distillery manager is having a chat with Dave Broom at Meet the Maker, I decide to go there and try to listen something. I get a glass of a Jameson Vintage, no idea of what I am tasting. Again, a very Irish whiskey with dominating floral and honey notes. Very nice Jameson, over the level of many scotches. Later on the airport I saw the bottle and saw that it was worth more than £250…
Woops! Just spotted three Kavalan Solist bottles! Sorry Johnnie Walker, keep waiting.
OMG! How can these guys do such a fine whisky. I asked Joannie about when they were going to sell the spirit in Europe and she told me there was no date but that in a few months it would be available in the UK. Great.
This will definitively be one of the events of the year. I tasted Vinho Cask and Sherry Cask and both of them were marvelous. Even the Sherry single cask was pretty impressive, much better than the one I tasted almost one year ago.
I also tasted tasted King Car Whisky that is a vatting of six different kind of casks, that can be translated as the whisky that isn’t good enough for Solist is vatted together here. Well, don’t worry! The result is still impressive. These Kavalan people really know how to make whisky.
I would love to taste the rest but I really have no time. Ooops! What’s that?! Teerenpeli? Oh, yeah, the first and only finish distillery. I tasted their 8 years old whisky and it is already promising. A bit young but definitively something nice. They told me that net year they may release a 10 years old version. Looking forward to it.
Ok, nothing left worth tasting on this floor, so let’s taste Johnnie Walker and move to the ground floor were most of the whisky is.
Johnnie Walker stand
Johnnie Walker stand has three bottles ( seriously Diageo, this is a WHISKY show, you need to take the bottles with you! ): Platinum Selection, Gold Reserve and Double Black.
I ask the brand ambassor what his recomendation is and he suggest that I try Gold Reserve, Platinum and Double Black. Agree.
Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve smells of young whisky! Really! They dropped the 18 years old mark for a NAS and they have added in this one very young whiskies. There is at least some smoke at the end.
Johnnie Walker Platinum is on the other hand very nice with more noticeable smoke and fruits notes. This whisky replaces the old Gold Reserve 18 years old and although I am not sure it is a huge step of it, Platinum is defitively a huge step over actual Gold Reserve.
I feel this one is similar to Blue Label, a good whisky that is definitively overpriced.
Finally I have a Johnnie Walker Double Black, a some peat, some smoke at last I think… Noooo! Double Black smells even younger than Gold! No trace of smoke on the nose although it is there when you taste it. Really, Diageo… if you call something Double Black add at least a bit (more) of peated Caol Ila to it. I didn’t like this one.
Ok, done here.
My suggestions on this floor are Talisker 35 years old, Kavalan Solist Vinho and Sherry, Yellow Spot and Middleton.
Keep reading the second part of my visit to TWE Whisky Show