My second tasting of the main day of the Victoria Whisky Festival was with Michael Urquart of Gordon & Macphail. While it was titled as a general G&M tasting it instead focused on a key part of their range – whisky from their distillery, Benromach. I’ve written about the Benromach before, way back in the long long ago when I visited, but I didn’t get to try much whisky. So here’s some notes on the drams that we had on the mat.
Of all the Scottish distilleries that people in the whisky industry are meant to like the one that I’ve paid least attention to in recent times is Springbank. I loved the ‘Rundlets & Kilderkins‘ bottling that appeared last year and used to ensure that I always had a bottle of Longrow 100 proof in the cupboard, but other than that I’ve not really tried anything from them in recent times. Being a reflective sort (self-examining rather than polished) I’m assuming this is because most of the contact I’ve had with the brand in the last couple of years is hearing about how expensive their older bottlings are, and seeing the Longrow 18 fly off the shelves for a scary amount of money, even though I thought it quite average.
So, when I was offered the choice of various ‘Grand Tastings’, the top end tasting sessions that happen the night before the big day of the Victoria Whisky Festival, I pounced on the Sprinbank one. We had no indication of what might be on the mat, but behind the times as I am any recent bottlings would be great. However, that wasn’t entirely what happened.
I drank a fair few things at the Victoria Whisky Festival and haven’t got enough hours in the day to write them up in my usual overly wordy fashion. But rather than let my notes disappear into the pile of notebooks on my desk I thought I’d better stick them up here. Firstly, a few Bowmores.
In recent times my Islay whisky drinking has become rather focused on Bowmore, pungent peat wuss that I’ve become, so I was rather please to get into Iain ‘Sometimes drinking Black Bowmore for weeks can be really awful’ McCallum’s final tasting of the day at the festival – Davin de Kergommeaux was knackered after a day of Canadian Whisky Awards press and ‘forced’ the ticket on me. What a horrible life I lead.
While I profess to be constantly on the lookout for whiskies from around the world, and have tried spirit from all over Europe as well as from as far away as Taiwan and New Zealand, there is one well-known whisky producing country whose wares I’ve not had anywhere near enough experience of – Canada. My recent trip out to the Victoria Whisky Festival gave me easy access to a bunch of Canadian whiskies, including those which don’t make it anywhere near the UK, so I thought I’d better do a bit of investigating.
In recent times this blog has been characterised by flurries of posts followed by chunks of silence. Generally I have reasons why I haven’t had time to pour my brain out into a computer, but more often than not it’s been that I just didn’t round to writing anything. This time, though, I did have a reason:
I went to Canada.
Afraid as I am of the world that lies outside of the control of London transport, I started last week with a trip to Kidderminster, and two days later was on a plane to Beautiful British Columbia to visit the annual Victoria Whisky Festival.