Colin Drury a retired fire fighter from West Yorkshire attends the annual Whisky Festival and is overwhelmed by all things malt!
“What is it?” I asked my son in law David, in response to his “would you like to go to a whisky festival?” Thinking it would involve 4/5 days in the remote Scottish highlands I was minded to decline the offer, safe in the knowledge that one can always enjoy a tipple in the comfort of the local pub or your own home whenever the mood takes one.
How wrong was I?
Seriously wrong about the need to partake in a jolly jaunt to the Scottish highlands for 4/5 days. The whole experience lasted just 4 hours plus travel to and from the event. In our case this amounted to 30 minutes each way, in contrast with Gary and Karen who’d travelled up from Lincoln to attend their second ever whisky fest, having attended a enlightening whisky lounge event in London earlier in the year.
So what is it? Well I will try to avoid the hyperbole that often accompanies this type of review but will start with the words “Enlightening, Educational and Totally enjoyable way to spend half a day. These are the words that seemed to echo universally around the room of the 200ish people in attendance. True a good percentage of those attending were well educated in most things “Whisky” But the greater majority were everyday Joes’ (guys to gals app 5-1) with few things in common apart from that their chosen occasional top shelf tipple being whisky and having like myself migrated from the main stay of pub availability Bells, Grants, Famous Grouse to name but a few to the more palatable (in my view) offerings of the dusty bottle right at the back of the top shelf.
Why enlightening? Let’s start with the passion, not from the paying attendees, but more of that of the exhibitors, (which numbered well into double figures) True they have their wares to promote, but not one tried to portray that their product was better than that of a rival. Each and every one had the time and patience for both the virgin whisky sampler and the seasoned campaigner. This in reality is the essence behind the event, not the promotion of the brand(s) more the promotion of the industry.
Educational, the knowledge of the exhibitors and how they delivered it to their receptive participants was given without condescension along with a wee dram of their numerous samples available. The wealth of information freely available at the “Whisky lounge fest” is by far too great to list here, although one simple snippet of information simplified it for me, and is now the basis of my further understanding/education of whisky. (How to find your ideal single malt) A flavour map (courtesy of Diageo’s) which was reviewed:-
“Whisky isn’t complicated, it has just never been explained properly.
I believe that the flavour Map is a major step forward in helping consumers
gain a greater understanding of this magnificent spirit”
(Dave Broom Editor Scotch whisky review)
Simplistic but effective, and totally enjoyable, that’s the lasting impression David and I took from our visit to the whisky lounge fest.
- Best sample tasted Killbeggan 18y blended available at £80ish for 70cl = £3ish/25ml (standard pub measure) Bells in our local £1.80/25ml (think fillet steak v sausages)
- Organisation, Excellent. Even though we were faced with what seemed like a lengthy queue we were quickly and efficiently admitted and left to enjoy the event
- Any trouble/drunkenness? None, sure there was a few who were beginning to slur their words come the end of the four hour event but not so much as to give concern even to the meek or mild.
- Value for money? Excellent.
- Do it again? Definitely
- Recommend to a friend? Yes
- An ideal gift.
More info required? Typing whisky into Google gives approximately 80 million hits so try www.thewhiskylounge.com for a start to your adventure. Don’t ask why! Just do it.