The London Whisky Weekender Returns

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Set in the heart of East London, iconic venue Oval Space has partnered with The Whisky Lounge to bring the third annual London Whisky Weekender from 1st – 3rd April 2016. From just £30, guests can discover a world of international whiskies from American bourbons through to Japanese, Irish, Scotch and more. This year sees a particular emphasis on Old and Rare World Whiskies, along with a programme of unique ‘blendathon’ workshops, tastings, guest appearances from distillers, whisky cocktails, street food and music all weekend, making it the whisky event on the London calendar.

With four sessions to choose from over the weekend, guests will be able to explore Oval Space and discover the best the whisky world has to offer. Satisfying the desires of even the most ardent whisky fanatic and converting previous whisky-deniers, the Whisky Lounge rallies all together under their banner: “Whisky is our Mission”.

With drams from all of the exhibitors included in the ticket price there will be no excuse to leave not knowing your Speyside from your Islay. In the main Oval Space area iconic legends of the whisky world such as Chivas Brothers, Talisker and Johnnie Walker will be on hand with brand ambassadors and distillers keen to share their knowledge and expertise.

Alongside the well-known names there will be a host of exciting craft and small-batch distillers including FEW Spirits, the New York Distilling Company and That Boutique-y Whisky Company. Those looking to discover something a little different will be able to sample whiskies from across the globe, including Wales, India and Japan. Legends of the whisky world will guest host tastings that explore the diversity of whiskies from different regions – a headline tasting of the festival will pitch the oldest Japanese whisky against the oldest Scottish whisky in a Whisky Weekender first.

As part of The Whisky Lounge’s mission to turn everyone on to Whisky, The Whisky Weekender will be attempting to break a Guinness World Record by creating the most whisky blends in a single day. A ‘Blendathon’ will provide all visitors with the opportunity to create their very own blended whisky in fun and interactive sessions. Usually the preserve of whisky experts, industry insiders and Master Blenders, it’s the first time this activity will have been attempted on this scale in the UK.

Soaking up the whisky will be a roster of tasty street food offerings and local organic suppliers, whilst a soundtrack of rock and blues will set the tone for a whisky fuelled weekend. With a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere, Whisky Weekender provides something for everyone, including whisky fanatics and novices alike.

#WhiskyWeekender | @TheWhiskyLounge | @OvalSpace

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Manchester Whisky Festival 2014

Aberlour

It was to be that time of year again as The Whisky Lounge headed to its Manchester leg of their annual whisky festivals, situated as last year within the Bridgewater Hall. The nature of my job involves trying and experiencing many a whisky, ultimately giving me the opportunity to then utilise these expressions within my work. As was the case last year, the whisky festival throws up an opportunity to me to ‘fill in the gaps’ so-to-speak, and head towards expressions I’ve never had the opportunity to try. So without further-a-do, lets dive into the highlights –

Springbank 15yr – 46%

A good blend of chocolate, almond and toffee on the nose, followed by dried raising, figs and nuts on the palate. Long, warming and plenty of sherry at the finish.

Springbank 18yr – 46%

Rich vanilla and fresh fruits on the nose, with a slight nut aroma following. Thick, plenty of fruit flavours offering a sweet style. Long on the finish with hints of smoke and chocolate.

Kilkerran Work In Progress 6th Release, Bourbon – 46%

Ripe fruit with vanilla and gingerbread on the nose, followed by caramel and chestnut flavours on the palate. Peat notes come through alongside dark chocolate for the finish.

Paul John Brilliance – 46%

Plenty of honey, vanilla and sultana aromas on the nose, before dry spice flavours come through on the palate. Slightly sweet with hints of cocoa and vanilla on the finish.

Paul John Classic – 55.2%

Lots of rich, ripe white fruits on the nose, with hints of barley coming through. Plenty of honey on the palate too with dry spice and a slight dark cocoa flavour creeping through. A juicy finish.

Paul John Edited – 46%

On the nose there’s plenty of chocolate blended with peat and whisps of smoke, both carrying on nicely to the palate with an added sweetness to round it off. A long finish with slight kicks of spice and vanilla.

Timorous BeastiePaul John Peated – 55.5%

Plenty of peat and sugar notes on the nose,combined with ripe fruits and spice upon the palate. Slightly bitter on the finish.

Paul John Single Cask P1 – 163 – 57%

Light sherry and cherry combination on the nose with plenty of sugar notes. A sharp palate with citrus and oak a-plenty before the long, dry spiced finish.

Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2014 – 46%

Plenty of rich peat on the nose, followed by aromas of red berries and citrus. Roasted vanilla flavours on the palate, followed by the peat once again and finishing with sherry notes. A lingering sweetness.

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014 – 46%

Lots of peat aromas on the nose with citrus and slight vanilla notes following. Lots of fruit on the palate with deep vanilla flavours coming through creating a long finish.

Kilchoman 5yr 2009 Original Cask Strength – 59.2%

Tropical fruit aromas on the nose followed by a vanilla and peat combination. A creamy texture on the palate with honey and vanilla flavours, malt and subtle peat. Long finish.

Singleton Sunray – 40%

Plenty of vanilla and honey combinations, plus hints of dark fruit and apple aromas near the finish. Soft on the palate with a thick texture of honey and malt which offers a warm yet short finish.

Benromach Organic – 43%

Sweet on the nose with plenty of malt and a slight kick of vanilla and banana coming through. Sweet fruit flavours are present on the palate, with a creamy texture, pepper notes and doses of malt with dark cocoa.

Benromach 10yr – 43%

Lots of rich sherry with hints of spice, chocolate and red fruits on the nose. Plenty of raspberries and ripe red fruits on the palate, followed by sherry notes, peat and a malt finish.

Benromach 100 Proof – 57%

Plenty of sherry notes on the nose with rich, ripe apple and pear aromas following. Sweet vanilla also present. Fresh strawberries on the palate, with hints of raspberries and oranges followed by smoky elements. A sweet honey finish.

AuchentoshanBenromach Peat Smoke – 46%

Sweet notes of vanilla and honey on the nose, with citrus aromas present too. Pepper and orange flavours on the palate, with a sweet strawberry also lingering to a wet smoke finish.

Big Peat – 46%

Fresh on the nose with plenty of dried barley and peat notes coming through. Rich, sweet treacle dominates the palate, with liquorice also finding a way through the smoke.

Timorous Beastie – 46.8%

Honey mixed with dry fruits on the nose, with sherry dominating slowly. More dried fruits on the palate with apple and apricots dominating for a long, dry finish.

Provenance Aultmore 5yr – 50%

Rich sherry mixed with dry fruits and spice on the nose. Well balanced with delicate toffee, dried fruit and honey flavours on the palate. Short on the finish with dry pepper.

Provenance Dailuaine 12yr 1999 Sherry – 46%

Dark, rich molasses on the nose with cherry and spice following. Sour fruits and sultanas on the palate, with nuts and pears on the finish.

Laphroaig Select – 40%

A peaty start followed by red fruit aromas on the nose. Slightly dry with almonds present too. Lots of sweet flavours before drying out on the palate with a smoke and peat combination. A rich fruit finish though.

The Macallan Ruby – 43%

Rich, dried fruits on the nose with a slight treacle aroma for a sweet finish. Ginger, orange and nutmeg flavours combine on the palate, turning to oak on the long finish.

Auchentoshan American Oak – 40%

Rich vanilla balances against fresh citrus zest on the nose. Smooth, creamy vanilla on the palate with slight coconut and sweet grapefruit on the finish.

Brandons Gin – 46%

Light, aromatic spiced on the nose with ginger and lemon dominating. Silky on the palate with a dominating blend of ginger and juniper, followed by soft pepper for the finish.

Arkansas Hickory Smoked – 45%

Plenty of smoky bacon on the nose and palate, with brown sugar and wood elements added to the finish.

LaphoraigKavalan – 40%

Aromatic fruits with honey and mango dominating on the nose. Sweet mango followed by spice and a citrus finish.

The Tweeddale 16yr – 46%

Sharp lemon blends with vanilla on the nose, with hints of spice creeping in. Lots of sweetness to begin, with oak elements and fruit creating a dry finish.

Aberlour a’Bunadh Batch 49 – 60.1%

Dry nuts, toffee and treacle aromas on the nose. Sweet on the palate with caramel, toffee and fudge, with a dry treacle finish combining with sweetness.

Longrow Red 11yr – 51.8%

Sweet summer fruits blend with a light peat aroma on the nose. Developing peat on the palate with dry raisin mixing with sweet port flavours. Long red berry notes to finish.
Until next year.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Manchester Whisky Festival 2013 Review

Diageo

The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester was the host of the biggest whisky festival outside of London, so big in fact that there had to be two floors filled with some cracking brands. The Whisky Lounge were the proud organisers for the 5th year in a row and had on offer the crème de la crème of the whisky world from both Scotland and Ireland, and even a few in Japan, India, England and America for good measure. Part of the Manchester Food & Drink Festival, there would be a host of seminars and masterclasses on offer including names such as Colin Dunn of Diageo and The Whisky Lounge founder Eddie Ludlow. This year I myself didn’t participate in any of the workshops on offer, but took full advantage of scanning the list for new additions, rare offerings and old favourites.

So, below, in order I sampled, I give to you my tasting notes on the days offerings –

Talisker Storm – 45.8%

Spice on the nose with hints of smoke and honey. A rich beginning on the palate, with a spicy kick following and sea smoke hitting the finish. Long.

Talisker Port Ruighe – 45.8%

Smoky notes on the nose with a ripe fruit following. A peppery beginning on the palate, but develops a peat flavour that mixes smoke and dark fruits. A lingering finish.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Blue Hanger Blended Malt, 6th Release – 45.6%

Rich orange and vanilla on the nose alongside waves of peat aromas. Fruits are present on the palate, with the well-rounded finish of sweet orange and smoky flavours.

Aberlour – Batch 2 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 52.1%

Sultana, apple and chocolate notes on the nose, with lots of spice, treacle and dark chocolate blending well on the palate. Creates a very long finish.

Elements of Islay BR 4 – 54.7%

From Bruichladdich. Lots of sweet fruit notes on the nose, with the fruits moving straight onto the palate. Blended with a honeyed sweetness and a pepper finish.

William Grant’s Ale Cask Reserve – 40%

Smooth herbal nose with a little sweetness lingering. Edinburgh ale aromas on the palate, with the oak coming through more as it develops. Slight fudge and barley near the honey finish.

William Grant’s Sherry Cask Reserve – 40%

Light and fruity on the nose, with a mix of honey and nuts present too. A well-balanced palate with dried fruits, spice, nuts and oak dancing nicely to a long finish.

English Whisky Company - Founders Private Cellar
English Whisky Company – Founders Private Cellar

Tullamore Dew – 40%

Lots of fruit and oats on the nose, with hints of sweet caramel coming through too. Hints of spice, sherry on the palate leads to a long caramel finish.

Tweeddale Batch 3 12yr – 46%

A great blend of apples and vanilla on the nose, with a sniff of raisin near the finish. The aromas follow onto the palate, with an added hint of ginger. A little kick of spice to finish.

Tweeddale Batch 4 14yr

A light nose of dry lavender and herbs, with a palate that enjoys soft caramel blended with waves of spiced peat. Hints of salt and smoke come through as it finishes.

‘The Bomb’ Blended Malt – Oloroso Finish – 47.4%

A nose of fresh plums and raisins dominate, whilst sweet flavours of marzipan and spicy fruits blend well for a lingering finish.

‘The Bomb’ Blended Malt – Pedro Ximinez Finish – 45.4%

Lots of sweet fruits with dark berries on the nose, with a vanilla and fruit blend on the palate that creates a long finish.

The Salty Sea Dog – 46%

Fresh on the nose with plenty of sea salt and peaty smoke that carries onto the palate. Draws out a long, tangy yet defining finish with lingering peat and crunchy salt.

 

Springbank 10yr – 46%

Lots of oak and earth notes on the nose, with a more cereal base on the palate. Peat, nuts and smoke create a long, crisp finish.

Hazelburn 12yr – 46%

Very aromatic on the nose with dry fruits, sherry and toffee coming through. A little spicy on the palate, with cocoa, coffee and a hint of peat nearing the finish. A long finish.

 

English Whisky Chapter 13 – 49%

Hints of smoke on the nose, with a following of spice and dark chocolate. A creamy texture on the palate, with notes of vanilla and toffee blending with fruits to create a long, dry finish.

English Whisky Founders Private Cellar (Cask 0859) – 60.8%

Dark berry notes on the nose with a slight kick of cinnamon lingering on the finish. Black pepper flavours on the palate, moving to a creamy texture of fudge and vanilla. The spice returns for a long, dry finish.

Longmorn 12 Year Old (Gordon & MacPhail) – 40%

Lots of fruit on the nose with some oak aromas following. Plenty of citrus and orange flavours dominate the palate, creating a long, juicy finish that lasts for a while.

Atholl Brose – 35%

Light and fresh on the nose with a mix of ginger and citrus that doesn’t dominate and overpower too much. A light ginger flavour to begin, it develops nicely with an instant warming. Sweet ginger near the end as the soft velvet texture coats your mouth.

William Grants & Sons
William Grants & Sons

Girvan Patent Still Single Grain 25yr – 42%

Light aroma on the nose of caramelised fruits, with good doses of toffee, honey and rich vanilla on the palate as they blend well to create a lingering dram.

Hakushu 12yr – 43.5%

Fresh nose of green fruit with a whisp of smoke lingering. Sweetness on the palate, with pear dominating and the soft smoke creating a dry texture.

Hibiki 12yr – 43%

Lots of pineapple and plum aromas blending nicely on the nose and following through onto the palate to create a soft and sweet flavour. A little spice on the end.

Auchentoshan 18yr – 43%

Bold notes of vanilla and spice on the nose with hints of sweet ginger following. Roasted nuts and vanilla flavours are present on the palate, creating a long, not-wanting-to-end finish.

Aberlour 16yr – 43%

Dry but rich on the nose with spice and raisins dominating. Quite sweet on the palate with a soft plum and long oak finish.

Rock Town Brandon’s Small Batch Gin – 46%

Very fresh with lots of citrus on the nose. Plenty of juniper, with subtle spice wandering around. A little dry on the palate, with coriander noticeable, and angelica following. A kick of spice to finish a long offering.

Rock Town Arkansas Young Bourbon – 46%

Aromas of fresh corn on the nose, with some dried fruits and spices present on the palate. A little hint of oak on the long, long finish.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask – 48%

Butter, toffee and raisin are present on the nose, surrounded by scented oil. A sweet start on the palate, but a huge kick of heat with iodine and fruit coming into play. A shorter finish than what you expect.

Laphroaig 18yr – 48%

Toffee nose with hints of cereal and spice leads to a warm yet rounded flavour of smoke and liquorice on the palate. A long, rich toffee finish.

Cardhu 12yr – 40%

Sweet, rich aromas of white fruit on the nose. Well-rounded on the palate, with a good dose of smooth peat and whispers of smoke on this long dram.

Some fantastic whiskies on offer yet again at the Manchester leg of the show. There’s some on the list above that I probably will never get round to trying again so to attend a show like this can really throw towards you some real gems. Highlights for me include Rock Town Arkansas Young Bourbon, Auchentoshan 18yr, Hakushu 12yr and English Whisky Founders Private Cellar (Cask 0859).
If you like whisky, then you will love attending these festivals. If you’re not a lover, you can be pointed into the direction of some of the more introductory whiskies on offer in the world. This is the best thing about this category – love it or hate it, there will always be something to convert or possibly soften your initial thought.

Sláinte.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

York Whisky Festival 2012 Review

Last year I became lucky enough to experience two whisky festivals organised by The Whisky Lounge. I happened to be in York for a weekend and heard that the Whisky Festival was in town, so naturally I decided to spend the afternoon there.

I targeted the whiskies I knew I hadn’t tried in Manchester, as well as some favourites, so below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012 – 46%

A good combination of smoke and malt on the nose, with a mix of pepper, chocolate and spice on the palate that creates a long-lasting finish.

Kilchoman 2006 Vintage Release – 46%

Delicate smoke with hints of spice on the nose. Bitter orange takes over on the palate with smoke flavours dominating a lingering finish.

Kilbeggan 18yr – 40%

Dominating vanilla on the nose with hints of cinnamon aromas following. Both cinnamon and vanilla present on the palate with the addition of caramel throwing itself in to create a long, sweet dram.

Glen Garioch 12yr – 48%

A mix of fudge and pear blend well on the nose to create a sweet offering. The palate is rather sharp to begin with but mellows quickly. Ripe banana moves to a slight smoke and salt flavour with the pear notes coming through at the end.

Hakushu 12yr – 43.5%

Fresh nose of green fruit with a whisp of smoke lingering. Sweetness on the palate, with pear dominating and the soft smoke creating a dry texture.

Yamazaki 12yr – 43%

A bold floral mix with tropical fruits blending nicely on the nose. Smooth sweetness on the palate with a little spice and wood finish.

Hibiki 12yr – 43%

Lots of pineapple and plum aromas blending nicely on the nose and following through onto the palate to create a soft and sweet flavour. A little spice on the end.

Tullibardine Aged Oak Edition – 40%

Citrus and barley on the nose with a slight aroma of chocolate followed by a vanilla and nut mix on the palate. Rather oily texture to begin but becomes rather dry near the finish.

Tullibardine Rum Finish – 46%

Toffee and vanilla dominating on the nose and palate with a rather sweet offering and a hint of spice. Heavy dose of rum which helps onto a long finish.

Balvenie PortWood 21yr – 40%

A strong yet fresh floral aroma with sweet notes and a hint of smoke on the nose. An extremely smooth and creamy flavour of fruit and honey on the palate.

Berry Bros. Speyside Reserve – 46%

Citrus and honey aromas on the nose with a slight nut scent following. Rather rich on the palate with fruits and malt combining well despite a slightly dry finish.

Speyburn 10yr – 40%

Fresh lemon scents on the nose which develops into fruit flavours on the palate. Sweet toffee also makes an appearance on the long finish.

Speyburn Bradan Orach – 40%

Green fruit mixes nicely with subtle vanilla on the nose. Delicate honey on the palate to begin-with but moves onto a smooth spicy finish.

Old Pulteney 17yr – 46%

Sweet nose of white fruit and butter with a scent of wood on the nose. Rounded hits of vanilla on the palate with the white fruit more delicate on the long finish.

Old Pulteney 21yr – 46%

A good hit of pear and apple on the nose with a little spice following nicely. Sweet on the palate with flavours of vanilla and honey making its presence. Dry finish.

Balbair 2002 – 46%

Floral fruits on the nose with hints of vanilla and toffee following, A good mix of spice and sweetness on the palate with orange and lemons dominating.

Balbair 1989 – 46%

Apple and raisin notes on the nose and then combines with spice flavours on the palate. A long, rich offering with raisin dominating throughout.

Balbair 1975 – 46%

Fresh citrus and coconut notes on the nose. Sweet and spicy on the palate with honey and fruits on the finish. Warming.

Arran 14yr – 46%

Dry notes of vanilla and toffee on the nose but a good hit of toffee on the palate. Chocolate and spice develops a rich sweetness on the finish.

Arran 12yr Cask Strength – 54.1%

Peach and apricot noticeably delicate on the nose, with fresh fruit and spice blending nicely on the palate with a slight kick of citrus at the end.

Arran Sauternes Cask Finish – 50%

Aromas of honey and marzipan on the nose, with citrus, spice and vanilla combining over a long finish with a hint of oak.

Arran Amarone Finish – 50%

Scents of honey and almonds fill the nose whilst chocolate and cherry flavours create a well-balanced match on the palate. Slight oak finish.

Arran Port Finish – 57%

Dry vanilla and citrus on the nose, with spice added to the mix on the palate. A good combination that develops a warmth on the finish.

Arran Machrie Moor Peated – 46%

Fudge hints on the nose that’s dominated by peat. Citrus and spice start off the palate, but smoke flavours follow quickly on a lingering finish.

Longmorn 16yr – 48%

Fresh nose of apple and herbs. Citrus creates a rich palate combining with spice and oak which leads to a dry finish.

Strathisla 12yr – 40%

Soft nose of floral and spice. A good malt flavour on the palate with a good hit of fruit on the long finish.

Chivas Regal 18yr – 40%

Orange and vanilla notes combine on the nose and palate, with hints of wood lingering. Spice flavours revealed near the long finish.

Glenlivet 15yr French Oak Reserve – 40%

Rich butter aromas on the nose with oak following. A combination of fruit and nut with spice and cinnamon making an appearance. Lingering finish of spice.

Glenlivet Nadurra Cask Strength 16yr – 54.2%

Fresh, rich aromas of apple and vanilla on the nose. Slight spice on the palate, with vanilla and soft fruits bursting on a dry finish.

Glenlivet 18yr – 43%

Rich toffee and fruit notes on the nose with honey and walnut flavours mixing with spice as it nears the long ending on the palate.

Glenlivet 21yr – 43%

Cereal and honey aromas create a rich nose, whilst a sweet ginger and cinnamon offering on the palate developing towards a warm, long ending.

Glenrothes 1998 – 43%

Rich vanilla and lemon-grass on the nose with hints of spice following. Rather soft on the palate with flavours of sweet vanilla and cinnamon blending well.

Glenrothes 1995 – 43%

Light citrus and spice on the nose with biscuit and cinnamon mixing nicely. A rich spice on the palate with a cocoa and coffee dry finish.

Glenrothes 1988 – 43%

Rich spice and berry notes on the nose with a hint of orange coming through. Orange and ginger combine well on the palate with a long, creamy finish.

Highland Park 18yr – 43%

Rich oak nose with hints of smoak, honey and floral aromas near the end. Soft honey and creamy spice on the palate with a long lingering peat finish.

Highland Park 21yr – 47.5%

Sweet toffee on the nose with hints of sherry creeping through. Sweetness carries onto the palate with flavours of smoke and spice to round it off.

Macallan Gold – 40%

A good blend of vanilla and citrus on the nose with fresh fruit, vanilla and toffee creating a short spice finish.

Laphroaig 18yr – 48%

Toffee nose with hints of cereal and spice leads to a warm yet rounded flavour of smoke and liquorice on the palate. A long, rich toffee finish.

Laphroaig Triple Wood – 48%

Dry nuts mix with a dominant sweet raisin aroma on the nose. A kick of peat on the palate leading to a vanilla, caramel and dried fruit finish.

Ardmore 25yr – 51.4%

Marzipan, peat and dark fruit dominate the nose with the peat continuing onto the palate with the rich fruits slowly following. Long, fresh finish.

Glenfiddich Rich Oak – 40%

Soft fruit notes on the nose with slight oak whispers. Rather soft and short on the palate, but a fruity offering with rich vanilla thrown in.

Some fantastic whiskies on offer yet again at the York leg of the show. There’s some on the list above that I probably will never get round to trying again so to attend a show like this can really throw towards you some real gems. Highlights for me include Kilchoman 2006, Hibiki 12yr, both Speyburn’s, Balbair 2002, Old Pulteney 21yr, Arran Machrie Moor, all the Glenlivet’s I tried as well as the Laphroaig 18yr.

If you like whisky, then you will love attending these festivals. If you’re not a lover, you can be pointed into the direction of some of the more introductory whiskies on offer in the world. This is the best thing about this category – love it or hate it, there will always be something to convert or possibly soften your initial thought.

Sláinte.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Manchester Whisky Festival 2012 Review

The Palace Hotel in Manchester was the host of the biggest whisky festival outside of London, so big in fact that there had to be two sessions and two floors. The Whisky Lounge were the proud organisers for the 4th year in a row and had on offer the crème de la crème of the whisky world from both Scotland and Ireland, and even threw in Japan, England and America for good measure. Part of the Manchester Food & Drink Festival, there would be a host of seminars and masterclasses on offer including The Magnificent Seven, hosted by Colin Dunn of Diageo, which took you through an in-depth look into their varied portfolio. Joe Clark of The Whisky Lounge also offered his advice for novices of whisky festivals and helped pave the way of how to get the most out of the drams on offer. To cap the morning session off, Ryan Williams of Buffalo Trace was to be on hand to guide enthusiasts through the award-winning distillery and their delights. This year I myself didn’t participate in any of the workshops on offer, but took full advantage of scanning the list for new additions, rare offerings and old favourites – including a rum from the guys at Berry Bros and Rudd.

Below, in order I sampled, I give to you my tasting notes on the mornings offerings –

Auchentoshan Valinch – 57.5%

The Classic at cask strength. Floral and very clean on the nose with a sweet maltness and a creamy flavour on the palate. Lingering finish. Smoother with drops of water with a slight power kick at the end.

Suntory Yamazaki 12yr – 43%

Light on the nose with aromas of honey, vanilla and peach. Becomes a little sweeter on the palate with spice lingering and a long finish.

Bowmore Tempest Batch No. 3 –55.6%

Very dry on the nose with a balanced mix of peat and smoke. Still rather dry once it hits the palate, but develops flavours of lemon and salt with a peppery finish.

Hazelburn 12yr – 46%

Bold with lots of dry fruits on the nose with hints of sherry lingering near the end. Rather spicy on the palate with a rich oak flavour and hints of chocolate on the long finish.

Old Pulteney 12yr – 40%

Rather dry on the nose with aromas of fruit and vanilla slowly making an appearance. Again quite dry on the palate, with hints of salt and smoke initially and becomes rather bitter at the end.

Elmer T. Lee – 45%

On the nose, a very light offering of vanilla and butterscotch creates a smooth, soft and slightly sweet aroma. A sweeter taste of honey and vanilla with some intense fruits on the palate creates a rather creamier bourbon to almost class it as a dessert wine.

Hancock’s President Reserve 44.45%

Instant sweetness on the nose with aromas of exotic fruits that carries onto the palate. A round offering of fruit, spice and honey combine well to create a long finish.

Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel 50%

Lots of oak and dry spices on the nose with a good balance of toffee, chocolate, vanilla and toffee on the palate. Incredibly long.

English Whisky Company Chapter 6 Un-peated – 46%

Sweet but soft on the nose with aromas of vanilla. Very sweet as it hits the palate with lots of malt and spice bursting well. Mellows as it nears the end with a slight dryness.

Singleton 12yr – 40%

Very rich fruit and nut aromas blend well when it hits the nose, with an initial sweetness onto the palate. Rather smooth afterwards however with a slight coffee flavour.

Dalwhinnie 15yr – 43%

Deep soft honey nose countered by a sharp citrus end on the nose. Quite sweet on the palate but does soften with vanilla.

Aberlour 16yr – 43%

Dry but rich on the nose with spice and raisins dominating. Quite sweet on the palate with a soft plum and long oak finish.

Aberlour a’Bunadh Batch 41 – 59%

Lots of spice and rich orange combine well on the nose and continue on to the palate with ginger and chocolate flavours coming through. A bitter oak and sherry end.

Scapa 16yr – 40%

On the nose there’s lots of sweet honey aromas which move onto the palate and combine with ginger to create a rich and long-lasting finish.

Berry’s XO Caribbean Rum – 46%

Banana, caramel and liquorice dominate the nose with a potent richness. Green fruits offer an intense sweetness on the palate but becomes rather dry at the end.

Compass Box Flaming Heart  – 48.9%

A bold nose of smoke and peat but mellows quickly. A good combination of citrus and vanilla on the palate with a dry spice and smoke ending.

Compass Box The Entertainer –

Light on the nose with peat aromas noticeable and a whisp of soft corn. Rather sharp on the palate however with a slight kick of spice with makes your mouth water every time.

Glenmorangie Original – 40%

Instant citrus on the nose but is soon followed by vanilla. Vanilla is also present on the palate before bursting with fruit near the end, noticeable orange.

Greenore 8yr – 40%

The nose enjoys delicate citrus notes with a slight mix of corn. As it hits the tongue, it gives a short, sharp hit but mellows quickly into a more distinctive citrus taste with a hint of barley coming through.

The Balvenie Caribbean Cask – 43%

Lots of vanilla notes on the nose, with rich toffee and fruit combining well on the palate. Hints of dried spice and tropical fruit help to round the long finish off.

W. L. Weller 12yr – 45%

Soft on the nose with hints of vanilla. A very soft, creamy flavour of wheat on the palate gives this a long, grainy finish that has hints of sweetness.

Arran 10yr – 46%

Instant vanilla to begin with, but tropical fruits follow. A spice start with citrus and oak counterbalancing nicely. Long and mellow ending.

Arran Gold Cream Liqueur – 17%

Soft toffee notes on the nose mix with a slight aroma of fruit. Lots of vanilla on the palate creates a sweet offering, with chocolate dominating near the end.

Glenfiddich Rich Oak – 40%

Soft fruit notes on the nose with slight oak whispers. Rather soft and short on the palate, but a fruity offering with rich vanilla thrown in.

Glenfiddich Age of Discovery 19yo Madeira Cask Finish – 40%

Deep orange notes on the nose with some hints of grape slowly released. Spice immediately hits the palate, but mellows to a smooth offering of caramel and ginger.

Glenfiddich 21yr – 40%

Strong and intense banana and toffee aroma with hints of leather and a rich sweet follow-through on the nose. Smooth with a slight smokiness and ginger and lime extracts on the palate with a long warm after-taste with subtle spice hints.

Glenfiddich 15yr Non-chill Filtered – 51%

Ripe, fresh fruit on the nose with an aroma of pepper at the end. Rather dry on the palate with spice, rich fruit flavours creating a long finish.

As you can see, a rather diverse collection was available, as well as varieties that are already gracing the site including Ardbeg, Connemara and anCnoc. With a total of four hours per session, there’s more than enough to keep you busy, and the guys and girls behind the brands are more than willing to tell you everything you need to know.

I know for a fact I’ll be attending next years festival as it’s the perfect chance to try some whiskies that you may never be able to afford in a bar or restaurant, plus a great opportunity to sample some you may never thought you would like.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Irish Invasion / St Patrick’s Tastings

I thought this would be an appropriate e-mail to forward to everyone! –
A very quick reminder to you all that The Whisky Lounge have their series of Irish Invasion tastings coming up and starting this Friday! They will be tasting six of the finest from the Emerald Isle, showing off what they can really achieve, rather than some of the more commercial items you might see on Supermarket shelves…
 
As always the tastings are fun, engaging and full of information and useful (and useless!) facts to arm you as you continue your path to whisky nirvana.
 
A reminder of dates:
 
Irish Invasion Tastings, 2012 UK tour
 
Manchester Friday 16th March, The Britons Protection
Newcastle Saturday 17th March, Blackfriars
York Saturday 17th March, Whisky Lounge HQ (not a misprint, we are a team now and splitting up for Saturday!)
London Monday 19th March, Albannach, Trafalgar Sq.
London Tuesday 20th March, Red Lion, Crown Passage
Leeds Wednesday 21st March, Crosskeys, Water Lane
 
All of these are only £20 a ticket and I think most of you will agree that you definitely don’t get this much fun and enjoyment for that little anywhere else! All start at 7pm and go onto until 9(ish) and if you need more info – aside from the whiskey (that’s a surprise) – please do drop in on the website at http://www.thewhiskylounge.com/book-now/
Many of these are nearly sold out so please be quick to avoid disappointment!
 
We really hope you can make it to one near you and look forward to seeing you for a night of whisky and craic!