Maltstock, Grant’s Ordha and Tony’s Pyjama Party

Grant's Ordha Pyjama Party

Maltstock is an event like no other. While Dramboree has some similarities – and spun out of the same desire for whisky fans to sit around, drink whisky and talk rubbish – it’s not the same. Maltstock is just more…well…Dutch. This year was my fifth time at the relaxed whisky weekend and my favourite yet. It also featured the strangest masterclass I’ve been part of – a pyjama party preview of Grant’s Ordha with Tony van Rooijen.

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Maltstock 2013: “Balvenie” Masterclass – Glenfiddich 21 Gran Reserva Deconstruction

Tony van Rooijen

So, there was another Maltstock. As is usual, it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get over the exertions of the weekend, but strangely it’s not to do with the booze – it’s sleep. A weekend in the Netherlands, surrounded by interesting whisky and whisky folk, leads to a distinct lack of kip, especially when the beds are so uncomfortable. However, it’s part of the event’s ‘charm’ and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Unless they want to change the beds, in which case I’d be all for it.

Anyway, outside of the many tasty boozes I drank while sitting around talking rubbish (with Jonthe balloon headed whisky disposal unitBeach winning on both the whisky providing [a 1978 Port Ellen. Best. Year. Evar] and rubbish talking [his repeated claims that he’s not the Whisky Sponge. We all know it’s really him…{it’s not}]) I also sat in on some masterclasses. First up – the ‘Balvenie’ class…

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Maltstock 2012 Part 3 – Glendronach and Benriach with Donald MacLellan

Masterclass number three of the Saturday of Maltstock was a whistlestop tour through the latest whiskies from Glendronach and Benriach, presented by the ever bouncy Donald MacLellan. I met him earlier in the year when I tagged along to Benriach with Jon Beach of the the Fiddlers during a day of ‘doing Speyside‘. Donald was helping a chap I later found out to be Bert Bruyneel of indie bottler Asta Morris (a guy who really knows how to choose his casks, as Mr Robson will attest) choose some casks and let us tag along. I owe him many beers.

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Maltstock 2012 Part 2 – Balvenie with Sam Simmons

My second tasting at Maltstock was the one I put at the top of my list – The Balvenie with Global Brand Ambassador Sam Simmons. Sam is a Whisky Exchange alumnus and I’ve bumped into him a bunch over the last year or so, but I’ve only managed to attend one of his tastings, a double header with UK ambassador Andrew Forrester. So, having heard tales of how good his Maltstock session was last year I was rather pleased to get a spot this time.

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Maltstock 2012 Part 1 – Suntory with Tatsuya Minagawa

The coming of September means a couple of things in my brain – people surprised that yet again we get nice weather at this time of year; the beginning of the march towards the carnage zone that is the last 3 months of the year at The Whisky Exchange (Whisky Show + Christmas = lots of work); and, the first event of the season, Maltstock.

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Quick Tastings – Maltstock 2011

I’m so very tired. It’s over a week since I got back from The Netherlands and still I am a broken wreck who looks on the concept of being a ‘shell of a man’ as being a step up. And what is to blame for this? Maltstock 2011 – the best whisky festival I’ve been to so far. A gathering of whisky fans from mainly across Europe organised by a group of whisky fans and with the intention of being pretty much the least commercial whisky festival in the world.

The weekend took place at an old Cub Scout lodge in Nijmegen, near the German border, and the plan was simple – turn up, bring whisky, put the whisky on one of the tables provided, share, talk toot and maybe sleep. A few companies had organised tastings, including my employers who had commented “do you want to do a tasting?” when I tried to blag some whiskies from our tasting cupboard to take along for the table, and I ended up showcasing some upcoming releases in the Elements of Islay range. There was also the promise of music and a BBQ, but mainly it was focused around sitting down with a bunch of new friends and drinking, talking and generally contemplating whisky.

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