Hampden Park, Glasgow, Saturday 11th November 2017
The 9th Glasgow’s Whisky Festival, and it’s third year at current venue of Hampden Park, took place on Saturday 11th November 2017. Run as two sessions from 12-4 and 5-9 making it a long and busy day for many exhibitors. Attending the evening session where ambassadors voices were starting to show the strain of answering questions to the enthusiastic crowd keen to hear about their whiskies. It has been a few years since we last attended and a venue change too, as we were last at the 4th and 5th festivals held at The Arches. Glasgow’s Whisky Festival has always impressed as it is probably the largest in Scotland in terms of the variety and number of different companies with whisky to offer.
It was clear this year that it isn’t just about Scotch whisky either, with US Bourbon from Heaven Hill, Japanese whisky from Nikka, Mackmyra from Sweden and Shilton Almeida pouring Paul John Indian single malt in his own inimitable style, plus rums and gins galore too. The Festival continues with its usual format of equipping you with a Glencairn glass and list/map of vendors as you enter and giving you 4 hours to enjoy and entertain yourself as you see fit. No distraction of tokens or pay per dram, the ticket price of £40 is all inclusive. Glasgow’s Whisky Festival was the first ever festival we attended here at The Whiskyphiles and remains our favourite to this day.
Organised by Julie Hamilton of Glasgow’s Whisky Club, Mark Connelly founder and owner of Swally Shirts and Paul McDonagh owner of the fantastic Bon Accord Whisky Bar and Ale House. Bottle sales were supported by The Good Spirits Co. and two redeemable £5 vouchers were included with the standard ticket. This year Glasgow’s Whisky Festival were also supporting Drumchapel Foodbank with a raffle available to those who brought along donations to the foodbank for a pair of tickets to next years festival. The collection was hailed as a huge success with hundreds of items donated!
This years vendors included; Adelphi, Auchentoshan, BenRiach, Benromach, Berry Bros & Rudd, Bladnoch, Compass Box, Creative Whisky Co. Dalmore, Douglas Laing, Duncan Taylor, GlenDronach, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glenglassaugh, Glengoyne, Glenrothes, Glen Scotia, Gordon & MacPhail, Isle of Arran, Isle of Jura, Kilchoman, Loch Lomond, Maxxium, Morrison & Mackay, Murray McDavid, North Star Spirits, Old Pulteney, R&B Distillers, Speciality Brands, Speyburn, Speyside Distillers, Springbank, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, The Islay Boys, Tullibardine, Vintage Malt Whisky Company, Wemyss Malts, Heaven Hill, Mackmyra, Nikka & Paul John.
Our highlights this year included:
Sampling some wonderful Aultmore 35yo 1982 at Adelphi, proclaimed as the best whisky in show in the morning session by none other than Charles Mclean himself.
Catching up with Fred and sampling a beautiful 21yo North British grain bottled under the Douglas Laing Old Particular range as his recommendation of a grain whisky true to style.
Trying a delicious 25 year old Longmorn cask 7.130 bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society whilst catching up with Nicola of The Whisky Boys.
No surprises as usually an Adelphi or SMWS bottling strikes me as being one of the really stand out drams during a session which can include quite a number of really high quality whiskies!
Catching up with Chris Hoban and hearing about how nearly 100 casks have already been filled at Raasay Distillery (there 100th cask being filled just a few days after on 15th November) and also getting a little insight into the quality of their new make spirit.
Sampling a wonderful 6 year old Glenburgie bottled under the Strictly Limited range whilst hearing about Aberargie Distillery, the new home of Morrison & Mackay. I suspect a visit there is in order in the near future!
Sampling some of the 2 year old spirit drink from Kingsbarns Distillery – somewhere we still haven’t managed to visit, but really should and soon!
Catching up with the Whisky Kiwi, Erik and also gaining a pour of Compass Box’s Phenomenology and No Name expressions, almost impossible to get hold of as these limited editions sell out as soon as they hit the shelves!
It is difficult to think of so much whisky and whisky knowledge concentrated into a single place for just a few hours. With thousands of attendee’s the atmosphere remains relaxed and the enthusiasm of the whisky makers comes across, as with almost every pour there is a story or anecdote behind the great liquid in your glass. As usual there wasn’t enough time to get around and see everyone, and sample something from everyone, however that means I just have to wait in anticipation of next years festival!
Thanks to Mark and the team at Glasgow’s Whisky Festival
Tickets will be on sale on Saturday 31st of March 2018 from 11am.