Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Whisky in the Jarr - part two: XXL tasting with the Director

In part one of our visit to Whisky Live Holland in the Hague, we already told about Hans Offringa's masterclass about American Whisky - especially the Jim Beam expressions. Like other masterclasses during the festival, it lasted 45 minutes, so there was little time for chitchat and making elaborate tasting notes. Time was deliberately kept to 45 minutes for the visitors to the main event, in order for them not to lose too much time. Douglas Laing's Jan Beckers had arranged to draw the longest end of the straw though; his XXL masterclass with a selection if six Director's Cut whiskies would be in between the two main sessions of the Saturday and lasted a very relaxed one hour and forty-five minutes.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Whisky in the Jarr - part one: American Whiskey

Half-way in this year's whisky-season, the time has come for the largest festival in the Netherlands; Whisky Live Holland in the Hague. The biggest festival automatically means the largest number of people, and sadly - the most expensive one. Both the number of people and the prices for the entrance and extras during the time of each session is for many people a reason to not to attend this festival. As with most whisky festivals around the globe, Whisky Live Holland had it's own share of masterclasses too, which were selectable separate from, during, or in between the sessions, so no precious time would be lost or forgotten while walking around and chatting with the many people present.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Day 4: Tom in a Towel

Photo: Martijn Krolis
The day before we had to go home again had arrived, and was once more planned with great events. When the breakfast was devoured again, it was time to get everybody in the van on time to drive from Dufftown to Tomintoul following the B9008 and the B9136. Not having visited, we trusted the GPS to get us there on time, and via this amazing route with beautiful vistas, we came to think we must have missed a sign at some point. Just when we were about to turn around at the next possibility, this possibility turned out to be the distillery, beautifully tucked away at the side of the only road leading to the village with the same name.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Day 3 - after lunch: the Balvenie

So, after spending the morning at the Glenfiddich distillery, the group had to get back into the car to drive the half mile or so to the Balvenie distillery. We took the car, because we were out of time (big lunch) and crossing the terrain without high-visibility vests and a tour-guide, is simply not allowed. At the visitor's reception - a livingroom like place where our guide Katya had made us coffee and tea (with Walker's of course) while she told us in short the history and the hows and whys of the distillery. She told us that - sadly - the malting floors were empty at this time, because there had been a company party in the barn. No harm done; Katya had some good stories, "laboratory" samples and pictures to explain the process.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Day 3 - before lunch: Glenfiddich

Thursday-morning, the weather was a bit grey and misty when we woke up. After a sturdy breakfast, we drove the small one and a half mile from the cottage to Balvenie Castle. It turned out the van had wipers, and we actually needed to turn them them on to keep our eyes on the road. Sadly, we were there out-of-season, so little further than the path up to the castle was next to impossible. Both the wet air and the absence of an open gate could not withhold us of enjoying the scenery and snapping some pictures before we would head down the hill to our first stop of the day: Glenfiddich.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Day 2: Aberlour - Rothes - Keith - Craigellachie - Aberlour

Because of yesterday's late arrival, we had not seen the crisp and beautiful surroundings of the Parkmore cottages earlier. With the sun shining and the surrounding hills covered in cold, misty clouds, this promised to be a beautiful day. Again. Some of the early risers had already been running or strolling around in the vicinity, and when bacon and eggs were all eaten, we all were ready to start our second day of the trip.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Day 1: Taking some friends along for the ride

The whole group ready to go to Scotland! 
Over a year ago, we got the idea to organise a trip to Scotland with a group of our whisky friends and have some whisky-related fun. It would be our first experience as "travel-agents" and after many preparations and planning, the day had finally come that everybody gathered at our place for a pre-travel tasting. Glen Garioch (the distillery was sadly not on the schedule) had send us a threesome of drams to try with our whisky-friends via their #GGDrambasador programme, and what better moment to have a go at these than this evening.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Whisky & Rum aan Zee

Having a chat with Richard
(Photo Whisky-Photographers)
Some years ago, we first learned about the existence of this whisky & rum festival in the harbours of Ijmuiden, organised by Richard and Esther Blesgraaf, who run the Zeewijck wine and whisky shop in the city. Last year we were too late to book a hotel room last minute (literally), we then decided to book well in advance for this years' event and a hotel room in the Holiday Inn hotel where the event was held. The event itself is held for the ninth time, and it was the fourth time at this hotel where the complete top-floor was re-decorated to accommodate about 500 people.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Pot Still Festival 2014

The Potstill Festival is a whisky and spirit festival organised by importer and distributor van Wees in Amersfoort, where we already have been to for some years, and has grown into a tradition with a growing group of friends. Besides whisky, they have a wide selection of cognac, eua-de-vie, armagnac, grappa, rum and other distilled products available, most of them represented by the distillers themselves. This year was the twelfth edition of the festival, and we were lucky enough to go there for two three-hour sessions on the Saturday.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Whisky by the Sea 2014

Junction Gorinchem: our view for most of the trip 
With whisky-festival season in full-throttle again, we found ourselves at our first festival since Speyside, in Vlissingen - way south in the Netherlands, in the province of Zeeland (where new-Zealand gets it's name from), in a small theatre on the coast of the North-Sea. Organisation was in the capable hands of Ronald Zwartepoorte, Keeper of the Quaigh and editor in chief of Dutch Whisky Passion magazine.