I sometimes suffer from an affliction of the most distracting kind – the chatty bug.
Known to affect many of the North American breed, it leaves its victims in a state of constant communication, unable to absorb or apply themselves to anything outside of the realm of conversation.
Scientists – especially those in Paris who are frequently subject to loud sufferers with southern accents who only speak ENGLISH – are working to find a cure but hope is fading that those afflicted will ever be able to escape its clutches entirely.
And it does tend to strike at the most unfortunate of times – in the latest case for this whisky lover, it launched itself into action during Whisky Live London, leaving me unable to spend much time sampling.
As such I admit now that, due to the unforeseen appearance of the chatty bug, I have fewer top whisky recommendations to share with the world, despite spending seven hours wandering a closely confined space filled with innumerable drams.
Chatty bug aside, Whisky Live returned to the Royal Honourable Artillery Club recently with many stands featuring everything from whisky, rum and bourbon makers, through to craftspeople and food producers.
Things started out smoothly enough – after a quick scan of the room I was off on my way. But then I ran into Cat Spencer at the Master of Malt stand (the company for which she is head of marketing), where I started chatting so much that I didn’t even get to try their That Boutique-y Whisky Company: Clynelish that everyone was raving about after the show.
Next, I had a quick chat with Eddie and Amanda Ludlow who were on great form with their Great Whisky Company hats on, helping Chip Tate spread the word about his Balcones whiskies. Knowing I would be trying the full range soon after the show at a separate event (and from which an interview with Chip will be forthcoming here on Miss Whisky) I continued chatting without really trying the whisky itself!
I did manage a quick stop-in at the Inver House distillers stand where – after a quick chat, of course, with Lucasz Dynowiak who was pouring Old Pulteney (and who is also from Edinburgh Whisky Blog) – I got the chance to sample Old Pulteney 35-year old. The whisky, I was told, was matured in ex-bourbon casks before being transferred to active ex-Oloroso sherry casks for 18 months. It had a lovely furniture polish and woody note on the nose with hints of lemon peel, and a great gentle balanced sweetness with nutty characteristics on the palate from that sherry influence.
I continued my circulation of the room and spent a few minutes speaking with Oliver Hughes of the new Dingle Distillery, a craft distillery located on the west coast of Ireland. While the company is still in its very early stages, it is already maturing spirit to make whisky and has released a vodka and a gin which are being distributed in many of the town’s lovely restaurants. The gin I sampled was extremely floral (the company uses fuscia as one of its botanicals) and fragrant on the nose – so much so it took two rinses of my glass to get it clean for trying more whisky. I look forward to seeing what else comes from Ireland’s newest distillery arrival.
Next up, I headed to The Glenrothes stand, where Spirits Manager Doug McIvor poured me a 2001 vintage. In between catching up, I managed to nose and taste this appealing dram, which was filled with melting butter, lemon, caramel and bananas on the nose, and licorice, oak, toffee and a hint of sulphur on the palate.
Then it was over to the Whyte & Mackay stand to say hello to Richard Paterson who was serving up drams to interested and awed passersby in his usual engaging and flamboyant manner. On the stand I grabbed a wee sample of the Dalmore Millennium 2000, bottled exclusively for members of the Dalmore Custodians online members’ club. It had one of my favourite ‘noses’ of the day, with hints of cocoa, melon, baked apple skins and butter. On the palate, it was creamy and reminded me of a sherry soaked Terry’s Chocolate Orange. All around, rather drinkable.
This was followed by a visit to the Burn Stewart stand in the accompaniment of Kirsty Chant of Chant Communications – though, more like Chat Communications that day (see what I did there?). In between the conversation I managed to try the Deanston 12, Bunnahabhain 18 and Bunnahabhain 25, the latter of which really stood out for me. A mix of red apple skin, toffee, oak and dried nutmeg on the nose and palate made for a rich, pleasing dram that I could drink repeatedly.
The rest of the show is a bit of a blur – not due to whisky consumption but simply due to the amount of time spent speaking to people I’d met before and those who were complete strangers (the chatty bug does not discriminate with whom one holds a conversation).
Final whiskies that really stood out were the various offerings on the Mackmyra stand, from the new make spirit marketed in Sweden as Vit Hund (or White Hound) that was full of jasmine tea and bilberry on the nose with a fresh, fruity palate bursting with blackcurrents, and the Mackmyra Blue, which had a glorious, bountiful melange of vanilla, pears and blueberries on the nose and vanilla, almonds and cream on the delicate palate. The Special ’08 (Mackmyra finished in Sauternes casks) was so great that in between chats with master blender Angela D’Orazio and Jon from Living Room Whisky I could only process the statement “TASTES GOOD”, which, let’s face it, is sometimes all whisky needs to be – damn good.
And so concluded another Whisky Live London. There are many drams that I would have loved to have tried but the chatty bug gets its way most times it rears its head. I only hope it doesn’t strike so thoroughly next time!
Were you at Whisky Live London? What drams stood out for you? Let Miss Whisky know in the comment box below!
Thank you to Whisky Live for inviting me along to the show this year and to Jon Bryant of Living Room Whisky for providing the final photo.