The setup is simple; fork out £25.00, turn up in your Sunday best, meet interesting and charismatic individuals, drown in a river of 10ml sample whisky from 16 different stands, get a free Glen Cairn bell shaped tasting glass, and generally have a whale of a time. Nothing beats the warm glow of a dram (or several over the course of 5 hours).
There are some additional extras that are not included in the price as during the Whisky extravaganza you also have the opportunity to sign up to do classes/courses. There is also special Whisky tokens for the under the counter Whisky at each stand if you are looking for something really special and I would highly advise getting these.
The day got off to a shaky start as my fiancée pulled out on me at the last minute and I ended up with a spare ticket. She suggested that I go with her friend Bob as he is “cultured, well read and won’t embarrass you” – her words, not mine!
I must say I was a bit sceptical about going to a 5 hour event with a practical stranger but I couldn’t have picked a better place to get to know the guy. And that is the selling point, the environment is warm, friendly and you can get to know the basics of anybody over Scottish Whisky. It may be cheesy but I met a lot of great people there and I will be going out with Bob again.
The stalls catered to the well known brands under the Diageo umbrella, but there was also a great selection of independent bottlers like Berry Brothers. I was particularly impressed by the knowledgeable gentlemen at this stall and by their impressive selection. Lady of the Glen was unfortunately not present at this event but in the future we will hopefully be a part of it and people will get the opportunity to sample our rare selection.
I also got to taste Artisan blends from Compass Box and there was a wonderful selection of non-scotch products like Balcones corn Whiskey. This tasted like popcorn! But perhaps my favourite stall was presented by Number One Drinks Company; it had a selection of Japanese Whisky that in one instance had sadly come from a distillery that had been destroyed. It is human nature to appreciate something more when we know that it is in scarce supply. I am glad that I got to taste a product that is not only exclusive but also very special.
If I was to do it all again I would follow this advice:
· Use your special tokens early so you can the benefit of them.
· Leave tasting the more heavily bodied and Islay whisky tasting to the end so your tongue and palate is not ruined. You will need a lot of water to wash of the Smokey peat flavours.
· Sign up to do a couple courses/sessions when you get there (the Balblair one I attended was really informative and fun)
· Know when enough is enough!!
My friend Bob and I thoroughly enjoyed the event and although some of the Whisky flavour drifted from our memories, we could still confirm to each other the next day that it was a blast! The Whisky Lounge (in association with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society) has a number of events touring across the UK this year. I actively encourage anyone who wants to learn more about Whisky to route one out and ‘gee it laldy’ for the day. I can hand on heart say that I cannot remember having so much fun.
Words of warning however, beware of the fresh air and your wives (or husbands) -as facing the armies of Mordor would have been easier than dealing with Dawn when I got home.
Scottish government failed objection to introduce minimum pricing.
Lady of the Glen news
You may know that Lady of the Glen is working on product development at this stage and that is why it can only be bought exclusively from the website. Hopefully soon we will have the product finished and Lady of the Glen can be presented as the ideal Scottish Whisky gift; bringing together Scottish design and style, with unique Whisky. We are very fortunate to have some talented Glaswegian designers working on our Whisky sleeve and we look forward to presenting this final product to you soon. Watch this space.