A whisky Festival.. Whisky, Whisky and yes of course more whisky and you can even throw in a little Bourbon, Gin and Rum these days and don’t forget a lot more whisky ! I have attended the whisky lounge festivals more times than I can remember ( I wonder why ! ) but this time was a little different, after chatting with Shilton from Paul John Indian whisky, it became apparent I might be able to help out once again as they had a clash of festivals and I was always going to do my best to get involved with them at another festival.. It was agreed that I would run the table at Newcastle, along with my good friend Craig.. This festival was going to be a little different with 3 sessions over the Friday evening and Saturday so it would indeed test us and really give a great insight into just how hard these guys have to work !! (And yes I still want to do this ) Friday morning was here and myself and Craig jumped in the car ahead of our 3 hour journey and off we went.. We soon arrived and and found our table and got ready to set up ( of course we were only around 3 hours early ) once set up it was just a case of chatting to all the other exhibitors. It was an extreme pleasure chatting to Dave from That Boutique y whisky company and off course the ever energetic Colin Dunn from the Diageo stand, if you ever get the chance to talk with Colin he is one of the best, most infectious people you could ever wish to meet !! After then chatting with Paul from Spey whisky who again was a star and offered up some exciting whisky it was about time to start the show.. The show just flew by with everyone just loving the Paul John Indian whisky we offered up, it was great talking with everyone, old faces and new and listening to the thoughts of everyone, listening to stories, explaining all about the whisky and trying to help them understand a little more about this Indian whisky and the different expressions as well as watching the expressions on all the faces.. So Friday was finished and the journey home was just full of chatting and excitement for the next day and wondering what that might bring.. Home at last (1.30 am !! ) and then the alarm at 6 am signaled the start to a double session.. A cup of coffee, bag sorted and Craig was here and off we went again.. Another coffee and a bacon buttie, a quick chat with Eddie and Amanda from the whisky lounge and it was time to start again.. The session flew by and with around 600 people in the hall the whisky flew out, so many great people, all with smiling faces and yes a few wobbly legs by the end but overall a fantastic time was had by everyone..
Time to eat and have a quick sit down with a coffe, a little time to chat with Dave ( Boutique-y whisky ) and Mariella from Elements of islay and it was time to get going again.
Session 3 and again around 600 thirsty people who all wanted plenty of whisky, and a good time, of course we gave them great whisky and obviously a great time was had by all. By the end of the session we were totally out of whisky !! Throughout the show I have to say everyone had a great time and were very receptive to the whisky they were offered up, our core range of Brilliance ( non peated ) Edited ( lightly peated ) and Bold ( more heavily peated ) went down fantastically well ! We also offered two ” select ” casks which are ” classic ” and “peated” these are a vatting of 100 specially selected casks and are bottled at 55.5% abv which just flew out, both just split the crowd receiving an equal share of fans.. As well as these 5 expressions we also had the incredible single cask #1906 but believe me this soon disappeared ( I didn’t even get to sneak a dram for myself ! ) by the time we had packed up and driven home it was once again nearly 1am so a long few days !!
These shows are a great way of investigating new drams and also re visiting some old favourites but the next time you visit just take a minute to appreciate the hard work that goes into them.. Eddie, Amanda and the whole team at ” The Whisky Lounge” never stopped from morning until well into the next morning, these guys and girls deserve a real pat on the back ! They always have a smile and nothing is beyond them, the hospitality they show the exhibitors and the guests is incredible, and talking about the exhibitors, they work incredibly hard and long tiring hours, they always have a smile for you and of course without them your not getting your whisky !!
So my last words are these.. Thanks to everyone who visited the Newcastle whisky festival and made the atmosphere so great, to the bloggers that called in to say hi, the people that just wanted to try our whisky and of course all the whisky lounge team, the exhibitors and Craig ( https://craigleewatson.wordpress.com )
Thank you for everything !!!