Well it is that time of year again..
Venue.. York racecourse.
Date.. 10th September
Event.. The Whisky Lounge ( Yorkshire Whisky Festival )
This is the festival I look forward to the most, after all it is my local one. For the last 8 years I have attended this event, 3 different locations but only one outcome.. A great day.. But this year for me at least, this was going to be rather different, I had purchased my tickets for the afternoon session, booked my masterclass and was all set for another great event and plenty of research. A few weeks prior to the event and after a few chats with Shilton from the Paul John Indian whisky camp something different was in the air.. A few days before the show it was all sorted and I was about to try my hand on the other side of the table.. The dark side beckons me.. Yes my friends I was going to be helping on the stand, me pouring out whisky instead of drinking it, and I get the chance to talk whisky to everyone who wanted to listen ( plenty once the whisky was flowing )and boy was this going to be fun.. The event was also being split into two sessions instead of the normal one, this then meant a smaller crowd for each session and more time to talk, this was getting better. On the morning I met Shilton, we had a quick talk about the whisky and off we went, luckily every one who came along seemed to really enjoy the product with most saying how suprised they were at just how good Paul John whisky was ( but we knew this already ).. The main winners on the stand seemed to be Brilliance which is the entry level non peated whisky, this still has an abv of 46% and really is an easy going, flavoursome whisky, another of the favourites was the Classic select casks, this is again a non peated whisky but at cask strength and bottled in batches of 100 casks.. And for those who tried the very impressive black token drams which were two single casks, one peated and one non peated, the response was always wow !!
Obviously there was more going on than just the Paul John stand, quite a few of the regular stands were there including the ever colourful Murray McDavid, which was very popular, of course Compass box had a great line up.. The lakes distillery were also there again this year with some Gin, Vodka and two of the blended versions of ” the one” … One of the highlights for many was the Ancient reserve stand for William Grant and sons, these guys really know how to entertain, Alwynne ( Miss whisky ) who is William Grant and sons whisky specialist and the person who also ran one of the masterclass events ( a deconstruction of the Ailsa bay ) was just full of information and so enthusiastic it was contagious.. The master class gave us a great breakdown of the casks involved and the stages of construction of the whiskey as well as Alwynne sharing plenty of information on the Girvan distillery itself.. Also a real treat was meeting Dave and daughter Cat who were today running the ” That Boutique-Y company” stand with such delights as a 52yo Girvan grain, a 25yo Aberlour, a27yo North British and a 27yo mortlach amongst others while daughter Cat was serving some rather tasty bourbon treats from Few, old Scout, Balcones.. And the Rye 9yo from old scout was pretty damn good !! .. Ben from a dram a day was also helping out on the stand for ” the whisky lounge, and for those who don’t know Ben please check out this link
This guy is raising money for a great charity by reviewing a dram every day for a whole year ( not so simple as it sounds ) he then publishes the video log on YouTube every day!!
Some of the other great stands on show were Spey from the Speyside distillery, of course Diageo were there and a great team on the Elements of Islay stand.. The Lost distillery company had some great treats available and a very interesting stand from the guys at Whisky blender.. You will love the idea behind these guys.. Some of the others in attendance were.. Nikka, Kavalan, Jameson, Dalmore, Penderyn and Ancnoc / Old Pultney.. It was also great to see so many people there from previous years, some old friends and some new faces who I have spoken to on Twitter, and through the live tastings online, Dave and Cat from
and not forgetting Rob from
All great blogs which you should check out ( of course you should finish reading first ) so after another great event I’m already looking forward to next year.. And who knows maybe Shilton will let me help out again. So to all those who attended I hope you had a great time, to those new friends see you all again soon..
My thanks must go out to Shilton from Paul John whisky for kindly letting me help.
To Eddie, Amanda and Joe and all the team from the whisky lounge for their hospitality and help.
To Steve,Dave, Rob and Dave again I look forward to meeting you all again soon..
I would also like to thank Alwynne from Ancient reserves, the lost Distillery company, Murray McDavid, Compass Box, And of course Dave for the generous samples for future reviews on the blog..