Whiskylive 2019: Day 1, Part 2

Following on from Part 1, after lunch:

Whereas the TWE Show made a stand against plastic waste in 2018, Whiskylive this year made a move in the opposite direction. Not cool, for 1000 years not cool! Catering at Whiskylive however included a vegan option, which is a big move indeed!

After TBWC stand, I’d no specific plans. Brian Houston from Deanston catches my eye so I decide to refresh my memory of Deanston’s new-found excellence after a distillery visit there in 2017 [blog].

Deanston 12

Deanston 12yo & 18yo [2019] Ob. 46.3% WB83.12[93] WF87 Blog85 Blog86


  • C: I’m pleased to report that the 12yo is still as/if not more kick-ass than before. The 18yo shares a similar pleasing profile to the 12yo with something lost & something gained – plenty gained actually. Both crackers!

Both score 87 points


Bunnahabhain 12yo [2019] Ob. 46.3% WB84.87[227] WF84 ralfy91


Bunnahabhain state ‘Small Batch Distilled’ on the label !!

  • C: Very much a savoury, almost sour affair compared to the previous two Deanston. Tastes contemporary with an illusion of youth & age, as if there’s 8 and 16yo juice inside. The mouthfeel is where it’s at. Otherwise, there’s something rather innocuous about this current 12yo batch.

Scores 82 points


Ben Nevis smallNear to the Deanston stand was Ben Nevis who are making waves with their standard 10yo and the vintage cask strength version. I’m told much of the stock for these presentations was bought back from brokers by Ben Nevis due to dwindling supplies.

Ben Nevis 10yo [2019] Ob. 46% WB85.36[164] WF89 WN88 Ralfy83 Blog88

  • C: 10yo is still top notch: Today, a mark higher from me.

Scores 89 points


Ben Nevis 2008:2018 10yo CS Ob. Batch #1 62.4%.jpeg

Ben Nevis 2008/2018 10yo CS Ob. Batch #1 62.4% WB88[45]

C: The standard 10yo, amplified. This means more blatant action, so eking out the subtleties may require more effort/time – not ideal in a festival environment.

[Provisionally scores 88+ points]


I meet a guy just doing blends today. Nice focus! I join him in trying the Glencoe 8yo. I muse over how many stands one could visit to try only STR/Jim Swan-legacy whiskies. Quite a few as it turns out!

Glencoe 8yo [2019] MacDonald’s [Ben Nevis] 58%.jpeg

Glencoe 8yo [2019] Ob. MacDonald’s 58% WB85.11[56]  

  • C: Very similar distillery character to both previous Ben Nevis 10’s. The abv puts this in between the 10 and the 10 CS vintage, those two extra years [and no grain] really paying off for the slightly older single malts. Having said that, this is a very decent malt-forward age-statement blend. All three would make quite a flight/set.

Scores 86 points


Can’t say I’d had too much exposure to Glengoyne before visiting the distillery in 2017 [blog]. I know the distillery has many loyal fans, so I thought I’d revisit it.

Glengoyne stand.jpeg


Glengoyne 10yo [2019] Ob. 40% WB80.14[205]

  • C: A very friendly nose with pleasingly cake-y sugars that trickle over the sweet spot.

Scores 84 points


Glengoyne 12yo [2019] Ob. 43% WB82[253] WF84 WM81[6]2012] Blog84

  • C: With very light-modern sherry action, we’re starting to enter whisky adulthood at 12 years, though funnily enough I miss the 10yo’s youthful song.

Scores 84 points



Glengoyne 18yo [2019] Ob. 43% WB85[385] WF84 Blog87

  • C: Sherry-light again, we’ve a decently balanced malt. Best of the three but it drops 2 points since 2017. Currently the Arran 18yo [blog] beats this hands down.

Scores 85 points


Glengoyne Legacy Chapter One 2019 Ob. 48%.jpeg

Glengoyne Legacy Chapter One 2019 Ob. 48% WB84.71[36]

  • C: 100% 1st-fill oloroso matured, this juice feels more ‘complete’ compared to the 10 & 12yo certainly. A well concocted annual release.

Scores 85 points


Whilst Douglas Laing’s focus at Whiskylive was understandably with their brands Big Peat, Rock Oyster & Scallywag for example, they also had some fantastic single cask bottlings, none of which were hidden underside.

Loch Lomond 1995:2018 22yo DL cask #12799 [315 bts] 51.5%.jpeg

Loch Lomond 1995/2018 22yo DL cask #12799 [315 bts] 51.5% WB0

  • N: Smells like a grain, my first of the day. 
  • T/F: Untroubled chewy delivery, deliciously thick and mash-y amongst other things.
  • C: Super tasty distillate-led grain with a subtle yet broad fungal touch. Very decent all round.

Scores 86 points


Auchentoshan 1997:2018 21yo DL cask #12805 [114 bts] 51.5%.jpeg

Auchentoshan 1997/2018 21yo DL cask #12805 [114 bts] 51.5% WB0

  • N: A ‘full’ whisky that takes time to reveal its story.
  • T: A single head-nod indicates it arrives & delivers well.
  • F: Well-aged distillate with a waxy complex, some bread crumbs and a few details to pick out from the depths.
  • C: Not overly ‘Auchentoshan-esque’ in style and the finest Auchentoshan I’ve had.

Scores 88 points


I leave the DL stand to chat with Marco outside. We connect straight away. ‘I thought I was happy until I met you’, he retorts the next morning.

With only a few minutes to go till close on the first day, Cotswolds seemed a fine place to finish.


Cotswolds Founder's Choice Batch 01:2018 3yo Ob. [2850 bts] 60.9%.jpg

Cotswolds 2014/2018 Ob. Founder’s Choice Batch 02/2018 Ob. [2800 bts] 60.9% WB84.60[7]

  • C: Easy to drink neat, given the abv.

Scores 83 points


Cotswolds Lord Mayor’s reserve Batch 01/2018 3yo Ob. 46% WB84[1]


  • C: Cotswolds distillery isn’t stuck on Jim Swan’s STR legacy. It’s experimenting with everything it can. This Lord Mayor’s release is a prime example: INFO.
  • This works great, and check the mouthfeel!

Scores 85 points


Cotswolds Peated Cask #221 [2019] Un-Ob. 61.9%.jpeg

Cotswolds Peated Cask #221 [2019] Un-Ob. 61.9%

Matured in Islay [Laphroaig] 1/4 casks, bottled 28/02/19.

  • C: Wolfburn successfully tried this too [Blog80]. Those peated 1/4 casks aren’t as prominent on the nose, but what an affect they have on the palate. Rocking!.

Scores 86 points



And that’s time on day 1. On the tube, I see Tony again – a talented veteran busker with a battered violin and Cube amp. He was shredding over Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll again, accompanied by a backing track on a USB stick. I told him he plays good, like he’s still hungry for music. “You need to keep connecting with your audience – that’s my quality control”, he imparts.

Back with day 2 soon enough!






4 thoughts on “Whiskylive 2019: Day 1, Part 2

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