The Whisky Show 2009… Awesome

I was very lucky, a couple of weeks ago, to be invited to the Whisky Show 2009 by Tim Forbes from The Whisky Exchange. It was amazing! The Whisky Exchange and Whisky Show boys wanted to show how things could be done and I was left seriously impressed.

So what is the Whisky Show, I hear you ask? Well, Distillers are invited to exhibit at the visually stunning and grandiose Guildhall. In one of their large function rooms there were distillers stands as far as the eye could see. Not just Scotch Whisky though, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, beer, black pudding, haggis, cocktails, chocolate and much more. You buy a ticket, and then walk throught the gates and the rest of the day is yours to drink and eat as much as you want.

I wandered into the hall, much later than I had planned (missed my flight, due to sleeping in. Muppet) and wandered around trying to decide what to taste. While I was deciding (he he), I got myself a Balvenie 17 year old Madeira finish. Such a sweet, light Whisky, it definitely got me thinking. I wandered to the Kilcholman stand first. I had not tried Kilcholman yet and was interested to try Islay’s new boy. They were offerring two samples. The bourbon matured Kilcholman 3 year old and a Pedro Ximinez finished Kilcholman. This particular dram was pre-release, so I thought I would get

a little scoop for the Edinburgh Whisky Blog.

Kilcholman 3 years in a bourbon cask,
2 months in a Pedro Ximinez sherry cask

Nose: Briney, oily and fruity at the same time. Definite fierceness to it but not too overpowering.

Palate: Smoke at first. Hints of vanilla and a nice rich prune and raisin finish.

Overall: I would actually compare this to Springbank 15 year old, which I think is high praise indeed.

I was actually quite interested to do some food and Whisky matching too, so I wandered over to some of the stands that had food involved (lack of lunch was a motivating factor to this).

Smoked Salmon with Compass Box ‘The Peat Monster’: You know, I thought this would work. Smoke with smoke. Job done. But not this time, I think the peat monster was just a bit too smoky and rich for the salmon. I think I would have gone for something light and sweet like AnCnoc 12 or something light and smokey like Caol Ila 12. It wasn’t bad, but not perfect.

Black Pudding with Glenfarclas 15: This was on the money. Tasty, spicy, oily black pudding combined to perfection with the sweet, raisiny light Glenfarclas 15. The Whisky had a nice dryness on the finish which made me want to eat and drink more. Mmmm.

Haggis with Glenfarclas 15: I would like to appeal to Glenfarc

las to take me out for a Haggis dinner and bring some of their own finest whisky with them. I am sure this matching would work, but for the first time in my life, I didn’t like the Haggis. Very fatty. I need another shot at this matching, so please Glenfarclas folks, next time you are in Edinburgh, bring some of your finest liquid. I’ll even pay for dinner!

Dalmore 40 with dark bitter chocolate: Sooo rich! An old cigar shop with plums, raisins and figs on the nose. Nuttiness, chocolate, praline, oakiness to taste. Awesome palate. Did it work with the chocolate? Absolutely.

After the food and whisky sampling, I quite fancied a beer. I had spotted one earlier that I had heard alot about, so I wandered over.

Ola Dubh: The Old Engine Oil. Named this way because the guy that set it up had finished working for a car company and started making beer instead. Beer matured in Highland Park casks. The unique selling point is that he is trying beers in casks that have matured Highland Park of different ages. I tried the 16, which was a nice dark sweet beer and the 40, which to be honest was as close to old engine oil as possible. It tasted and had the consistency of Marmite, so definitely love it or hate it. I personally would drink the 16 quite happily and fill the car with the 40, but each to their own.

Now I could continue with a description of my night which would include Old Japanese Whisky, Ancient Speyside Whisky, Live Music, Steak and Kidney Pie and nearly meeting Clint Eastwood, but I would just encourage jealous hate mail and Lucas to beat me next time we catch eyes at EWB towers. Let me just finish with saying: go to the Whisky show next year. It’s not cheap, but definitely a treat. I would say that some distillers provided rarer and more intriguing liquid than others (you know who you are) and there were one or two stands I went up to that seemed to know less about their product than I did. But these are minor gripes on what was otherwise an excellent day.


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