Glasgow’s 4th Annual Whisky Festival, organised by the Glasgow Whisky Club, was held at The Arches in Glasgow on Saturday 16th November 2013 from 1pm-5pm. As part of Edinburgh University’s Water of Life Society we had the fantastic opportunity to get 2 tickets for this event priced at £25 each. Meaning that Paula and myself could make up part of the WoLS contingent that attended this fantastic event.
It was with a little trepidation we boarded the train from Livingston that morning, not knowing exactly what to expect from our first whisky festival. I had done a little homework already using the exhibitor list and floorplan and drew up a shortlist of targets for the day. Mostly using a little guesswork, I hoped to try as many untried distilleries as we possibly could in the 4 hours given to us.
Below (in alphabetical order – hopefully) are the drams we tried:
AnCnoc 22 Years Old, 46% ABV, £88
AnCnoc Peter Arkle Limited Release 4th Edition, 46% ABV, £45
Auchroisk 14 Years Old, Carn Mor Strictly Limited, 46% ABV, £45
Balblair 1991 Crozes-Hermitage 20 Years Old, Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection, 45% ABV, £65
Benrinnes 15 Years Old Flora and Fauna (Diageo), 43% ABV, £45
Bruichladdich Islay Barley Rockside Farm 2007, 50% ABV, £45
Caol Ila/Braeval, Douglas Laing Double Barrel, 46%, £35
Clynelish 16 Years Old 1997, Adelphi, 58% ABV, 1 of 262 Bottles ~£80
Clynelish Distillers Edition 1997, (Diageo), 46% ABV, £55
Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve, 44% ABV, £65
Dunedin Distillery Doublewood 10 Years Old, 40% ABV, £74
From the New Zealand Whisky Company, this is a master blend of 70% Single Malt whisky, and 30% premium grain whisky.
Glen Moray 30 Years Old, 43% ABV, £180
Glendronach Allardice 18 Years Old, 46% ABV, £52
Glendullan Distillery 1999, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice, 14 Years Old, 46% ABV, £33
Glenglassaugh 30 Years Old, 44.8%, £200
Glengoyne 21 Years Old, 43% ABV, £99
Glengyle Kilkerran Work in Progress 5, 9 Years Old, Bourbon Cask & Sherry Cask, 46% ABV, £35 each
Glenturret 17 Years Old 1993 Sherry Butt #7973, Douglas of Drumlanrig / Hunter Laing, 1 of 283 bottles, 46% ABV, £ ??
Kilchoman 100% Islay Single Cask, 50% ABV £60
Kilchoman 2007 Vintage, 46% ABV, £51.60
Ledaig 1993 St. Josephs, Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection, 45% ABV, £40
Linkwood 12 Years Old Flora and Fauna (Diageo), 43% ABV, £42
Linkwood 18 Years Old, Old Particular/ Douglas Laing, 48.4% ABV, £71
Longmorn 21 Years Old 1991, Refill Hogshead, 1 of 262 bottles, Old Malt Cask / Hunter Laing, 50% ABV, £85
Miyagikyo 15 Years Old (Nikka), 45% ABV, £100
Mortlach 1995 18 Years Old, Carn Mor Strictly Limited, 46% ABV, £55
New Zealand 18 Year Old 1993, 51.9% ABV, £100
Octomore 06.1, (Bruichladdich) 57% ABV, £100
Old Pulteney 17 Years Old, 46% ABV, £70
Old Pulteney Navigator Limited Edition, 46% ABV, £46
Port Charlotte heavily peated (Bruichladdich), 50% ABV, £50
Royal Lochnagar 2000 Distillers Edition Muscat Finish, (Diageo), 40% ABV, £50
SMWS 5.36 Rubbing White Tiger Balm on your forehead, 59.8% ABV, 211 bottles, £48.10
SMWS 26.95 Rose petals on a tropical breeze, 61.3%, 230 bottles, £48.40
SMWS 50.53 Monster mango and melon, 46.4% ABV, 60 Bottles £95.90
SMWS 73.60 Watching the Monaco Grand Prix from a roof terrace, 57% ABV, 509 bottles, £92.40
South Island 21 Years Old, New Zealand Dunedin Distillery, 40% ABV, £85
Strathclyde 1977, 36 Years Old Single Grain Whisky, The Sovereign / Hunter Laing, 58.1%, £110
Taketsuru 17 Years Old Pure Malt (Nikka), 43% ABV, £71
Yoichi 15 Years Old (10YO Pictured), Nikka, 45% ABV, £85
So following a thoroughly exhausting schedule of tasting, which ones stood out…
For me two of the whiskies I had already penned onto my letter to Santa [so no bias here then] I was pleasantly surprised to find were truly exceptional: The Ledaig St. Josephs Wood from Gordon & MacPhail which was another supreme example of wine finishing; and the Old Pulteney Navigator which turned out to be pure butterscotch in a glass!
For Paula, the Miyagikyo 17 Years Old was well appreciated, and strangely where the SMWS 26.95 fell down [i.e. rose petals only right at the end after other stronger flavours] the Old Malt Cask Longmorn 21 Years Old really came through with an exceptional rose-water flavour throughout this absolutely delicious expression. I was also impressed with how well this Longmorn stood out on a very busy day!
The Glenglassaugh 30 Years Old, and SMWS 50.53 both went down a storm with both of us, though both are probably out of our comfortable price range. And lastly the Octomore I can either sum up as caffeinated bacon, or baconated espresso – either way this is a full breakfast in a glass. Surprising how much peat smoke flavour it packed without being harsh, a real experience to drink!
Lastly it remains to thank the organisers and all the vendors [especially Eric the Whisky Kiwi, Carn Mor and also the team at Gordon & MacPhail’s] with whom we chatted and quizzed, a special thanks to our WoLS president Christy for organising the tickets. Looking forward to next years events already!