Sunday, 6 October 2013

TWE Whisky Show 2013

The Whisky Exchange’s Whisky Show is a massive, annual whisky tasting.  Saturday, Sunday with a trade show on Monday, each day is 6 hours of unlimited tasting of (this year) over 500 whiskies.  There was whisky from Scotland, Japan, New Zealand, England, Wales, America and India.  There were cocktails, whisky and food pairings, whisky and jazz pairings, and a man bothering a barrel with a hammer.

I’ve never been to anything like this before – I went in with a plan but left it in the cloakroom, so we ended up like kids in a toy shop, taking on accidental full verticals from distilleries we happened to be standing next to, deep diving some distilleries I should know better but haven’t got round to yet, and getting under the counter samples of whiskies not on the list.  And lunch was pretty good too.  We sampled over 50 whiskies over the 6 hours, which meant for a very early bedtime but was just stunning fun.  I’m not sure I could do the Sunday as well as the Saturday but I can’t wait until next year!  Highly recommend.


The queue outside


Buffalo Trace’s stunning Antique Collection


Glenlivet’s lineup




Douglas Laing & Co lineup

I managed to get some kind of note for 46 of the whiskies we tried, but they obviously make less sense at the end and my palate was a bit overloaded.  Out of them, the following make the list of whiskies I want to buy a bottle of (with the likes of this stunner not on the list due to cost):

  • Glenlivet 21yo Archive
  • Caol Ila 25yo
  • George T Stagg
  • Thomas H Handy
  • AnCnoc 22yo (what a bargain)
  • Edradour 1993 Sauternes Finish
  • BenRiach 25yo

Here’s everything we tasted

Exhibitor Whisky Dream Dram? Notes Rating
Boutique Drams Hudson Baby Bourbon 100% corn.  n - real corn, clean but not remarkable, b - odd back note, weird B⊖
Boutique Drams Hudson Four Grain Bourbon Corn, rye, barley, wheat.  n - very different, still faint, b - rollercaster, still  has that odd back note, much better balanced with water A-
Boutique Drams Hudson Manhattan Rye 100% rye.  n - clear, fresh, sweeet, b - much cleaner with water, f - beautiful long finish, lovely caramel, the distiller's favourite A⊖
Chivas Brothers Glenlivet 16yo Nadurra First fill bourbon Fruity, balanced A+
Chivas Brothers Glenlivet 18yo 1/3 sherry, 2/3 bourbon.  More toasted, petrol nose.  Much more rich, barley edge, loads of toasted barley. A
Chivas Brothers Glenlivet 21yo Archive n deep rich, beautiful, b - smooth, rich, balanced, lovely A⊕
Diageo Brora 35yo y Bot 2012.  n - tropical fruit, swimming pool, beautiful smoke nose, lovely integration, plum crumble, b - peat, beautiful waves of fruit and wood, floral, f - long, long finish, loads of peat, plastic and plum A⊕
Diageo Caol Ila 25yo n - deep sherry, peat backing, b - structured, dark, lovely, f - very long A⊕
Diageo Caol Ila Moch First Coal Ila bottling with no age statement.  n - fresh TCP, green apples and moss/hay, summery, b - very lovely, appes and peat. A
Diageo Johnnie Walker Blue n - dark sherry nose, very structured, b - great smoke integration, complex, f - medium finish, sherry back note A+
Diageo Johnnie Walker Gold n - fresh, clean, mild, b - good structure, balance, f - long but bitter edge, interesting and a bit watery A-
Diageo Johnnie Walker Platinum n - more structure, bit of cherry, malt in there, rich dark fruit, b - rich, dark, structured, f - medium, bit disappointing A
Diageo Talisker Storm n - nose closed, smoke, b - spicy, chilli, smoke and wood, loads of spice, f - explosion of wood, very interesting, real rollercoaster A
Glenfiddich Glenfiddich 14yo Rich Oak n - rich, very sweet, oily and thick, truffles, b - spicy, warm spice, apple, f - medium short, very good A+
Gordon & MacPhail Amrut Cask Strength n - spicey, warm spices cardamom, butcher's beef injection, b - loads of barley, bit rough but well made nonetheless, f - long, fiery finish B+
Gordon & MacPhail Amrut Fusion n - complex, beautiful, very interesting, b - soapy edge, peat backing, f - not much A-
Gordon & MacPhail Amrut Single Malt Whisky - Single Cask - PX Sherry Strong nose, fiery B⊕
Gordon & MacPhail New Zealand Dunedin DoubleWood 10yo n - very rich, sherry, beautiful integration, lovely, b - wheat edge, hint of grain, fresh, a bit wierd A-
Gordon & MacPhail New Zealand South Island 21yo n - watery, light fruit, b - very lovely, balanced, f - bit light, lovely poise and fruit A
Gordon & MacPhail New Zealand Vintage 1990 n - deep, beautiful, intense, b - sherry, fierce, great oak integration A+
High Spirits Eagle Rare 10yo  n - beautiful, fruity, balanced b - clean, fresh f - some bitterness A-
High Spirits Eagle Rare 17yo  n - bit more concentrated f- less of the bitterness, mellowed slightly A
High Spirits George T Stagg n - deep, rich, b - massive, rich, syrupy, f - rolling, enormous.  73.34% evaporates in the 15 years and they're taxed on the liquid that goes into the barrel, not what goes into the bottle A⊕+
High Spirits Thomas H Handy n - beautiful, fresh,balanced, b - delicious fruit, f - long clean A⊕
International Beverage anCnoc 22yo n - plastic cement, sherry and fruit, beautiful.  Bit of peat, b- deep tropical fruit, f - long, deep, amazing A⊕
International Beverage Old Pulteney 12yo n - clean, ok, b-fruit, oak, f - medium, very pleasant A-
International Beverage Old Pulteney 21yo n - rich, exciting fruit, b - dark, but fruity and rich, buttery smooth, f - spice, beautiful integration, lovely A
Maxxium Highland Park 12yo B⊖
Maxxium Highland Park 18yo Beautiful, fruity, integrated, complicated, lovely sherry, coastal edge A+
Maxxium Highland Park Loki n - deep, rich, peat, b - great balance, very interesting, delicious, f - very long, amazing A⊕
Maxxium Highland Park 21yo More creamy nose, rich, spicy, beautiful A⊕
Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo 10yo n - polite, b - smokey A-
Nikka Whisky Nikka Coffey Grain 100% corn.  n - fruity, clean tropical, b- very sweet but balanced, green, good structure, f - long, balanced, even. A+
Nikka Whisky Taketsuru 21yo  n - restrained but rich fruit, b - right buttery body, beautiful. f - not much, watery A
Nikka Whisky Yoichi 10yo n - toast, toasted barley, b - bit rough but structured B+
Penderyn Distillery Penderyn Bourbon Single Cask Beautiful integration, stunning A⊕
Penderyn Distillery Penderyn Madeira weird tropical and whaat, loads of fruit, very pleasant A-
Signatory Vintage & Edradour Edradour 1993 Sauternes Finish n - floral, sauternes, b - clean, beautiful A⊕
The Benriach Distillery Co Benriach 16yo Bourbon, PX Sherry, virgin oak.  n - rich, fruit, clean, b- rich, rolling fruit, f - medium, bitter finish, delicious A
The Benriach Distillery Co Benriach 1977 single cask, Moscatel finish n - melon, beautiful, b - fresh, mango, delicious wood A⊕
The Benriach Distillery Co Benriach 25yo Sherry cask.  n - deep, fruit salad chews, b - very rich, lovely fresh fruit, f - long, beautiful finish, excellent A⊕
The Benriach Distillery Co Benriach triple distilled PX finished 1998 limited n - plastic and fruit, clean petrol, b- rich, fiery, oily, f - long, unbalanced but delicious A+
The Benriach Distillery Co Glenglassaugh 30yo n - lovely fruit, structured edge, deep deep tropical, b - rich, deep fruit, great oak, very rich and beautiful, f - medium, well balanced, oak is off kilter finally A+
The Great Whisky Company Rock Town Young Bourbon n - oaky, Wasmunds nose, b - edgy, loads of rye, f - medium short finish, loses balanced, strays too far into wheat B
The Great Whisky Company The Bomb Oloroso n - sherry, lovely fresh fruits, b - loads, oak edge with sweets and strawberry laces, f - long, long finish.  Very sweet, falters at the end, too sweet A⊖
The Great Whisky Company The Bomb PX n - intense, fruity, too unblanaced, f - very drying too dry B

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