Whisky is one of my favourite drinks, as any regular readers would know, however when I say whisky I’m being very generic as there are thousands of different malts and many different types of whiskey. You’ve got the main ones like Single Malts, Blended Malts and Bourbons, add to that the Single and Blended Grain whiskies, Tennessee whisky (Jack Daniels), and Rye whisky. And then you have to take into account the fact that many of these are made in different countries across the world, aged for different periods of time and matured in different casks, and you see that it can be hard to keep track of which ones you are tasting!
With tasting in mind, there are various events that take place across the world throughout the year where you can sample of the expressions from various distillers. London has its fair share, the main one I guess is Whisky Live, but I’ll come to that one shortly. Last year I attended The Whisky Show, an event held by a partnership of The Whisky Exchange (a whisky retailer) and GW Publishing at The Brewery in central London. The 2010 show was the second held by this partnership, and has also turned out to be the last. It was a pricier event than Whisky Live, but it was worth it as you were treated to unlimited tastings from a wide range of exhibitors, one sample of an Ultra Premium Dram (guaranteed to be worth at least £500 a bottle), a two course meal and a host of other little freebies, so you were sure to get your moneys worth. It was a big success from what I understand, which makes it even more of a shame that the partnership has come to an end.
However this break-up so to speak does not meant the end of The Whisky Show, as this year there will be TWO premium whisky tasting events that have been born from The Whisky Show. First up will be the new show, The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show, which as the name suggests will be run by The Whisky Exchange. This event will take place in early October at Vinopolis, which is the location of their shop premises, and will be very similar to the event held last year. They have beefed things up a bit though, with extra “Dream Drams” for you to try and the price remaining at £95. GW Publishing however has kept The Whisky Show going, and will return to The Brewery in late October. The price has increased slightly to £100 (although attendees to last year’s event got a £15 discount), but it looks as though even without the help of The Whisky Exchange this event will still be a resounding success and a great opportunity to sample some top quality whiskies.
For the more cost-conscious whisky drinker there is Whisky Live, as mentioned earlier on. Although I say cost-conscious, buying quality bottles of whisky is not a very cost-conscious pastime! Anyway Whisky Live hold events across the world, in cities such as Tokyo, New York, Seoul and Dublin. Of course the one I am concerned about is the event they hold in London, which this year happens in just over a weeks time. At just £25 for a half day ticket, it looks a lot cheaper than the other shows I’ve mentioned, however Whisky Live operate a “voucher” system, where officially you hand over a voucher for each dram you sample. From past experience the voucher system falls by the wayside on the Saturday afternoon so you get to try a lot more than you normally would, and that’s the best time to be there as at £1.50 a voucher and some drams needing 3 tokens for a sample it could get quite expensive overall! This years event will be the 4th Whisky Live I have attended, and the first to see the WhiskyPod, which is an interactive video review booth set up by the guys at Connosr.com, the Whisky Social Network. It had a successful stint at The Whisky Show last year, and looks to continue as it goes from show to show!
Speaking of Connosr.com, I’m really pleased to have been invited to take part in a Port Askaig tasting panel for the Connosr.com web magazine “Distilled” this coming Wednesday. So when that is all done and dusted I’ll make sure I let you know how it went!