The Art of Drinks
Maybe you have seen a lot of blogs and post about this event, but I'd like to add another.
Now, normally I do not write about events or tastings. Why? I do not know.
Maybe it is because I'm a bit weird about writing about social events. Maybe I'm too focused on the whisky instead of the things happening around me. But this Time was different. Let me explain.
Going round in circles, making mistakes
I won tickets for this event from the instagram account of @Offcialwordsofwhisky . Two tickets, so I could bring a friend. The event was hosted in the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.
This location has a unique round former gas holder that just looks awesome. The floor plan was set up in two concentric rings of stalls with importers, distillers and bottlers of all kind of alcoholic beverages.
So after entering, me and my dram buddy decided to walk a round and see what was on offer to make a battle plan.
This turned out to be a decision that put us straight on the path of smaller stalls starting conversations and asking if we wanted to try something. Having no spine at all, we had some flavored vodka and other stuff in our tiny glasses before we knew it.
No bad stuff, but also not the type of alcohol to start with if you're planning an afternoon of tasting whiskies.
Brandy as malternative
One of the stalls we ended up with was that of importer Petrus Boonekamp.
We just had bought some coffee and were strolling toward what we were thinking was the whisky corner (It was set up in circles, every direction was the right one, some just took a bit longer.) when we were approached by a kind young lady at this stall. She asked if we wanted to try something. Blowing on my hot coffee, I asked her what she would recommend to try for two whisky fans. She turned around to the stall, pulled a bottle from the shelves and poured two small cups for tasting.
Spot on! After asking what we were drinking, she turned to a colleague who could tell us a bit more and explained we just had a brandy from 1970.
And ladies and gentlemen, we liked this a lot. So much, that I decided to mention it on my whisky oriented blog. In the conversation the word "malternative" was mentioned and it is the right way to describe this. Aged on oak barrels, you get a flavor set pretty much the same as some sweeter and fruitier whiskies, with the exception that this is clearly made from grapes. Not barley. And that is something that you taste as well. So. No whisky, but a pretty awesome alternative that I can recommend!
On towards whisky!
After some coffee, brandy and some unplanned encounters with vodka dealers, we found the place in the bend of the outer circle where we could try some whisky. We ended up at the stall of Salud! because I spotted something I wanted to try for a long time: Starward Octave Barrels. Several times I have encountered myself in front of some shelves with whisky eyeballing this bottle. And then still going for something from Scotland. Shame on me. Starward whisky has a truly awesome range of whisky aged on wine casks. A very long story short: I finally tried the whisky I was eyeballing for a long time and next time it might come home with me.
A final note: I want to apologize to Ruud again, for dropping the stopper.
More whisky! Yay!
After a very long time spent at Salud! trying Starward whisky, Stauning whisky and some Wisemen Rye, we walked on. Wanting to eat something, we found ourselves staring at a row of blue bottles of Irish whisky. You guessed it: Waterford.
In doubt if to approach, fellow whisky blogger Confessionsofawhiskyfriend passed by and instructed us to try the one with a yellow label. The man behind the bottles looked at us and asked if we wanted to try something and we answered that we might want to eat something first. We returned. And I am so happy we did. After some great stories from Ian from Waterford, we got to try the one recommended: The Waterford Heritage Hunter. I somewhat fell in love with it. How much you ask?
Enough to get me on a hunt for this bottle, buying it within a week after visiting this event. A review and blog will surely follow in the near future!
Douglas Laing tasting
When getting the tickets online, there was still an option to get tickets for a tasting at the event. We decided to go, so after hurrying from the Glen Scotia stand, we joined a great session of Douglas Laing, tasting some awesome whiskies and getting a sneak preview into next years releases. I had the Timourous Beastie Meet the Beastie, followed by a very nice dram from the Big Peat Christmas edition and to finalize the tasting; a dram of the Old Particular The Dutch Dram Masters Rembrandt edition.
These whiskies blew me away. I enjoyed them a lot, might have to get a bottle. Meanwhile, I was in luck and sat on the same bench as @whatsinmytumbler and joined her and her friend to the stand of GlenTurret, where I had a great conversation with the lady managing the stand and some information about an upcoming Managers Dram, followed by trying the new 15yo Glengoyne at the stand across.
But in the end, it was the people
This whole event I had awesome conversations with fellow whisky enthousiasts like the people mentioned in this blog and with some very nice brandmanagers. The stories, the flavors, the experiences. They all count, but noting is more fun than the experience of sharing you passion with others and enjoying whisky with them.
Drinking whisky with my pal, having a tasting with other fans, talking to my dramfluencer heroes, eating an awesome chocolate bonbon with Coal Ila and encountering new people with the same passion as you do. And that is what these events should be about, right? A gathering of whisky fans, enjoying drams with each other!