Silly Season .... too right!
So it is the run up to Christmas but it is the time for whisky shows, lots of them!
Last weekend we were at two Whisky shows, Glasgow Whisky Festival and one of the largest in Europe, Whisky Live Den Haag.
It is no surprise that there are so many shows at this time of the year as it is such an important time. Airports, departure lounges, trains and taxis are the order of the day at the moment. You tend to meet up with colleagues from fellow companies at the airport on a Sunday night, all looking forward to getting home after a long weekend talking whisky! That was certainly the case at Schiphol last Sunday!
The week before Den Haag I had been in Leuven in Belgium for Spirits in the Sky (10th/11th Nov), a smaller show than Den Haag but as important with some quality consumers and trade attending. The night before that show, I did a fantastic tasting with my colleague Tatsuya Minagawa who is Brand Ambassador for MBD's Japanese portfolio of whiskies including Yamazaki and Hakushu.
We had arranged a tasting in La Barrique in Nalinnes near Charleroi with Bowmore taking on a combination of Hakushu and Yamazaki across 4 flights of two whiskies. The line up was....
Bowmore 12yo v Hakushu 12yo
Bowmore 15yo v Yamazaki 18yo
Bowmore 18yo v Hakushu 18yo
Bowmore Tempest 4 v Hakushu Bourbon Barrel
I think the audience enjoyed the diversity of whiskies on offer and most importantly it was not really a contest, just a way to introduce some fantastic whiskies in a different way! Bowmore did win though! Have a look at the photos here!
I did a masterclass at Whisky Live Den Haag on Saturday with a great line up which proved hugely popular, covering the 12yo, Tempest 4 (new small batch release), 15yo Darkest and the wonderful if not readily available Maltmen's Edition (historically only available from the distillery). So nice to talk about the Bowmore's matured in Bourbon and Sherry alike and the huge difference in the flavours but also the style.
Tempest 4 is completely different to the last 3 batches as it should be and for me has layers of amazing flavour. Wonderfully balanced with the Bowmore saltiness and smokiness apparent of course but also an element of mint / menthol on the nose. Hugely sweet too with plenty of vanilla and citrus on the palate and with water the sweetness becomes more apparent. I am a huge fan of all the Tempest releases and particularly batch no.2 but it is now no.4 I think that is my favourite. A magical dram and in the traditions of all of the Tempest that have gone before! Look out for it at a store or indeed whisky show near you!