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After the Whisky Lounge last year I was a much changed person. Consuming high volumes of high volume whisky samples can do more than give you a headache the next day and a feeling of anxious worry, what did I do or say to some people that could or has been construed the wrong way?!
On reflection of last year’s event my friend, Bob (my leather jacket wearing Whisky loving comrade from last year whom my wife recommended join me because she was busy) and I started our day at 11.30am at the Fidlers Arm in the Grass-market with a steak pie rather than the coffee and Pork sandwich quickly devoured last year. After our hearty meal we meandered up to the Hub on Castlehill fashionably late at 1230ish as opposed to first ones in last year at 1200.01, we would take our time…this time.
It was another fine showing from the Whisky Lounge team, with a great variety of drams on offer and the same system in place as last year – your sampling glass (now with water dropper) and two white tokens. Bob, my Whisky drinking buddy, forked out the additional money for those prized black tokens which would give you those under the table special drams. I was really looking forward to the event this year because although it has the big companies like Diageo and you get your other big whisky brands like Highland Park, The Macallan, you also get to see what other businesses are doing like A.D. Rattray, Compass Box and Berry Bros and you know there will always be a little gem of a stall like the Diplomatico stall; which was handing out rum this year.
My favourite stand was the Scotch Malt Whisky Society stand which had some great malts and really enthusiastic ambassadors too. The dram I liked the most was the Craigellachie 23 year old which had a lovely warm smokiness. Also good were the Clynleish and the 24 year old Mannochmore. However, strangely enough my ‘must buy’ item was not a whisky - it was a Diplomatico rum which was 80% pot still. I like rum and I thought this rum was brilliant, so if you ever get the chance give it a go!
I decided to find out what all the fuss was about with regards to the Highland Park – Freya and utilised my black token for a sip. Not bad but with all the hype you come to expect a sparkler in the glass so it’s difficult to meet expectations.
The Whisky Lounge always feels like a reunion of sorts because you get to catch up with whisky friends from all over. It is also great to meet new people who share a common enjoyment of Whisky and because everyone is a bit tipsy it allows for a lovely relaxed environment. It never hurts to have a friend on the other side of the stall either…
When the day finished up around 4.30, Bob and I were surprised at how sober we were so we sauntered down to Mum’s where we had some tremendous sausages and mash and then completing our day in doctors with a pint watching the Man Utd game. It was a great day out because I had managed to keep notes on the handy ‘whisky festival map’ and I had not got so inebriated that the train journey home was not an horrific ordeal in contrast to last year. Roll on next year!!