The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2011

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2011

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.”
(James Joyce)

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A Pale Golden Glow (Apologies to Robert Burns, and his beautiful ‘Red, Red, Rose’)

“My love is like a pale golden glow
That’s in the glass before me,
My love is like the delirium
That slowly sets me free.

So one more dram o’ Whisky
For the night, for you and I,
And I will drink to your love, my dear
Till this flagon runneth dry”

– THC, 2011

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At the end, it all comes down to Whisky. There is no second choice. Unless you’re at the Whisky Show,  that is! And  it sure was a spectacular evening . Ladies and gentlemen of the dram….the water of life.

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The Compass Box Whiskies
Orangerie

Compass Box: Make a variety of blended whiskies, each absolutely fantastic, and as they use a mix of 3 whiskies, the tasting notes vary for each blend, but their crowning glory is Orangerie. The only Scotch Malt Whisky Infusion in the world. It’s not a whisky, it’s not a liqueur and it’s so seductively flirtacious! Gentle licks of orange zest, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg – this is a revelation! The only problem was that Whisky Exchange Shop didn’t keep enough in stock as it was all sold out when we got there!

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One of my favourite whiskies, even without the patriotism stemming from it’s being made in the town where my parents live. Nevertheless, they’ve now added 3 more whiskies to their range. The Amrut Cask Strength  which is intense, creamy, powerful, full of aroma and flavour, slightly peated. The Two Continents is big on everything – spicy flavours of clove and pepper with a long finish. yum!

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Auchentoshan
Auchentoshan 50 year old!
Glen Garioch
Yamazaki
Dalmore, Fettercairn, Jura
Balvenie

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Currently, the world record for the most expensive whisky is held by Dalmore 1962, sold in 2011 for £125,000 at an auction. This was the last bottle of that vintage released from the personal collection of master distiller, Richard Paterson. The record was previously held by the Dalmore 1964. Just hope they didn’t drop the bottle!

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The copper pipes you see standing on the cask of Balvenie are known as ‘dogs’ – because they’re on a leash and because they’re man’s best friend. What? Why? Is this some drunk talking?

Well, it so happens that back in the day workers in distilleries would have these ‘dogs’ inside their trousers, using the clip to attach it to a belt loop. They would then go to a cask of whisky, take the plug off it, and dip the dog into the whisky so it would fill up, pull it back out, put the stopper on the cask, the stopper on the dog, and it would go back down the trousers! Clever eh?! This practice was commonly known as ‘dogging the cask’ – honestly! And as always, Balvenie is a treat to drink!

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Glenfarclas 1961
Bunnahabhain
Bunnahabhain 30 yr

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The Glenfarclas 1961, sherry cask has got to be, by far, the most disgusting whisky I have ever tasted. By that I mean, one of the the foulest drinks I’ve ever tasted. The feel of treacle, the taste of bitter medicine that no spoon of sugar could ever help. Bad, bad, bad!

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Whereas, the Bunnahabhain, one of my favourite Islay malts was a delight beyond words, especially the 30 year old. Lightly peated, tender, loving and could easily be nursed over a game of scrabble.

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(Funky) Monkey Shoulder
Aberlour 18
Laphroaig

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No! We weren’t doing flaming whisky shots! The gentleman was pour flaming Cask Strength Monkey Shoulder over an orange peel studded with cloves. This was later mixed with more Monkey Shoulder and then some coffee. Delicious!  Definitely one to hire for your party! Had it not been for the poor quality coffee, it would have been even better!

The Aberlour 18 on the other hand, was paired with dark chocolate with sea salt and this worked a charm. Delightful in every way!

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Bowmore
4 Roses Bourbon
English Whisky Company

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So what makes a bourbon, a bourbon?! Firstly, it has to contain a minimum of 51% corn. Then the barrels have to be new and can only be used once. Jack Daniels is not a bourbon, just a Tennessee whisky, and they also add caramel for flavour and colour (a no-no by the How to be a Bourbon guidelines).

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The English Whisky Company. The first time I’ve come across this one, and possibly one that I’d like to taste again when my taste buds are a little less fuddled by hours of whisky tasting! The good gentleman at the stand, did however, give us a little tip on whiskies: If it’s 40%, a drop (literally, a DROP) of water. 50%, a little bit of water. Cask strength, half and half, as whisky is at its most flavoursome at 35% ABV.

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Glenmorangie
Tomatin
Berry's Own Selection

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Berry’s Own Selection are whisky merchants that purchase casks from various distilleries and bottle them under their own name. They have quite a few distilleries they buy from and pick out some fabulous whisky. The bubbly Yorkshireman affably told us that “whisky should be tasted neat and drunk however you like it!

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And by this point, being suitably  in whisky heaven (we did eat dinner, mind you!), we were asked to vacate the premises as the show was closed. No matter, we soon made our way into the Whisky Exchange shop (which is the only place I shall now go to buy whisky when I’m not at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – the best place to go for drinking whisky in London, Edinburgh and Leith)!


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