Christmas 2016 Whisky Tastings!

It has been wonderful to get back on the road hosting single malt whisky tastings. Talking to people about whisky, particularly whisky from the Isle of Islay is what I love to do. I’ve worked with whisky, one way or another, for getting on for 21 years. I’ve been involved in making it, packaging it, branding it and selling it, but it is at tasting events like the ones I’ve hosted recently, where whisky brands come alive, and where people really get the chance to explore the world of whisky and share great drams with like-minded folk.

I host tastings for small and large groups, in all sorts of venues. I regularly host tastings in bars, hotels, restaurants, private clubs, offices and even in people’s homes so if you are interested in holding a whisky tasting, whether it be for a group of friends, work colleagues, or for your Christmas party, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Every tasting is bespoke so we can cater for every event and occasion.

Our first tasting in November was in Worthing on the South coast at the beautiful St Pauls Art Centre. This was to be the first of our Islay Malt Whisky Tastings and I was pleased to see a number of people at the event who I had met whilst living on Islay, it was great to see familiar faces even though I was so far from home.

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St Pauls Art Centre Worthing 24/11/16 Islay Malt Whisky Tasting: Set List

Glenkinchie 12 year old Lowland Single Malt 43%abv (on arrival, palate teaser!)

Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt 46.3%abv

Caol Ila 12 year old Islay Single Malt 43%abv

Kilchoman Machir Bay Islay Single Malt 46%abv

Laphroaig 10 year old Islay Single Malt 40%abv

Lagavulin 16 year old Islay Single Malt 43%abv

Queen of the Hebrides 2005 cask 432 Bruichladdich Islay Single Malt 64.8%abv (!)

I left Worthing at about 11pm and headed back up the motorway. I needed to get back that night as I was due to host another event the following day at Picture House Social in good old Sheffield.

I love Sheffield, almost as much as Glasgow. The beer scene is fantastic and there are loads of great pubs and venues. Picture House Social is part owned by a friend and former colleague of mine, James Hill. James and I have hosted many great whisky events all over the UK, and so I was looking forward to seeing the venue and to hosting the tasting. Picture House Social is a huge venue with enough space to host gigs, theres 2 or 3 bars, and they make amazing pizza! The tasting I was hosting was part of their Firkin Beer Festival and I was asked to match 4 whiskies with 4 craft beers. The tasting was to take place in the venue’s mini cinema, all was set for a fantastic evening!

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Picture House Social, Sheffield, Beer and Whisky Pairing, 25/11/16: Set List

Cardhu Gold Reserve Speyside Single Malt 40%abv (palate teaser!)

Caol Ila 12 year old Islay Single Malt 43%abv paired with Beavertown Lupoloid IPA

Caol Ila Distillers Edition Islay Single Malt 43%abv paired with Madhatter Mandarin IPA

Lagavulin 16 year old Islay Single Malt 43%abv paired with Five Points Railway Porter

Queen of the Hebrides Bruichladdich 2005 cask 432 Islay Single Malt 64.8%abv paired with Cloudwater Red IPA

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The following week was another busy one, I was delighted to be hosting the first tasting in my home town of Leek since returning from Islay in December last year. This event was held at The Spout Brew House, home to the great craft beer shop, The Bottle Lab. Once again I was joined by lots of familiar faces and I was really looking forward to enthusing about all the things we had been up to during our 4 year long adventure on Islay. I’m afraid there was rather a few slides to go through, more than 120 as I recall! The set list was exactly the same as the tasting I hosted in Worthing. I was so enthralled in the tasting that I unfortunately forgot to take any photos!

Spout Brew House, Leek. Islay Malt Whisky Tasting 29/11/16: Set List

Glen Grant No Age Statement Speyside Single Malt 40%abv (Palate Teaser)

Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt 46.3%abv

Caol Ila 12 year old Islay Single Malt 43%abv

Kilchoman Machir Bay Islay Single Malt 46%abv

Laphroaig 10 year old Islay Single Malt 40%abv

Lagavulin 16 year old Islay Single Malt 43%abv

Queen of the Hebrides Bruichladdich 2005 cask 432 Islay Single Malt 64.8%abv

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Later last week it was time to head South again, this time to the bright lights of London. I’ve hosted tastings at some rather posh venues before but this one may have taken the biscuit. I was asked to host a pre-dinner Rare Whisky Tasting for a group of enthusiasts at The Royal Automobile Club in busy Pall Mall. This was a chance for me to root through my whisky cabinet and find some hidden gems. Now that I am no longer tied to a large whisky company, it means that I can show whatever whiskies I like from whichever stable, I can talk freely about them too, all very refreshing!

The surroundings at this top end private London Club were incredible. In the cabinets at one end of the room were numerous motoring trophies including the Formula One trophy!

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I was incredibly excited about this tasting, not least because of the drams I managed to find and acquire for the event. There were some stunners amongst the whisky big guns for this tasting.

Royal Automobile Club, London, 01/12/16, Rare Whisky Tasting: Set List

Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt 46.3%abv

Manager’s Dram Dufftown Diageo Employees Only Speyside Single Malt 56.2%abv

Kilchoman Private Cask 97 / 2008 Islay Single Malt (still in cask on Islay) 59%abv

Caol Ila Feis Ile 2015 bottling 1998 vintage Islay Single Malt 57.3%abv

Bunnahabhain Distillery Only Moine Rum Finish Islay Single Malt 56.1%abv

Queen of the Hebrides Bruichladdich 2005 cask 432 Islay Single Malt 64.8%abv

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The whiskies truly sang, the Caol Ila Feis Ile 2015 and the Queen of the Hebrides Bruichladdich single cask went down extremely well. I was very impressed with the distillery only Bunnahabhain Moine Rum Finish which I had managed to secure at the distillery just the week before, it sold out the day I purchased it!

I’ve loved every single one of the tastings, and so have the good folk who have attended them. In the coming weeks, leading up to Christmas I’m hosting another Rare Whisky Tasting, this time in Leek again at the Spout Brew House. 12 lucky imbibers are going to taste some wonderful whiskies including an incredibly rare Port Ellen Islay Single Malt. I’m also hosting a whisky and food pairing at South 16 in Buxton and another whisky and beer pairing session at The White Hart, Alton. We’d love to see you there.

If you would like to attend one of our tastings, you can find more info, and book tickets by visiting the Tasting & Events page. If you need any further info, give me a call on 07875 405 980 or drop me an email: david@distilledevents.co.uk

If you would like an event similar to the ones described in this post, whether for a small or large group, whether newcomers to whisky or experienced enthusiasts, please get in touch and we’ll plan your perfect bespoke event.

Slainte and happy drams!

David

david@distilledevents.co.uk

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