Following on from lunch:
Today’s tasty vegan offering was an aromatically-spiced curry with coconut balls and a kale & water cress salad – by table service – fab!
And now for something completely different.
Andy Watts was once a first-class cricketer, which is why TBWC’s independent bottling of Three Ships [blog] has a picture of him holding a cricket bat on the label [see pic]. According to wiki, Andy was a left handed batsman yet a right-arm bowler!
Cricket took him to South Africa where he met his wife and found a job at a winery that had significant business connections with Morrison Bowmore.
Fast forward three decades to 2016, Andy stepped down as distillery manager of 25 years at the James Sedgwick Distillery [maker of Three Ships & Bain’s], to take up ‘his new position as global head of whisky intrinsic for the Centre of Excellence’ SW. Further reading, also at SW.
- C: Very clean, quality bartender-friendly spirit.
Scores 74 points
Whilst beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in South Africa, whisky is the most popular spirit with brandy coming in second. Andy tells me 80% of the whisky produced in SA is consumed there. [Apparently cider production & consumption is also extremely lively too].
Bain’s 15yo  Ob. Special Release Single Grain 52.5% [1ltr] WB84
This one’s new and destined for travel retail.
- N: Pungent/boozy nose. The sugars need time to settle in.
- T: Given the hot climate in SA [the James Sedgwick distillery looses 5% abv to the angels annually], this may well pass for a 30yo Scotch grain.
- F: Short yet tasty.
- C: Pretty fair grain and the price point of around £65 for a litre would appear competitive.
Scores 82 points
Launched a few days ago, Whisky Works [WW] is the brainchild of Greg Glass [SW]. WW is a boutique blending & bottling house, run as an independent arm of Whyte & Mackay. Making use of W&M’s vast stocks, WW will release two small-batch whiskies every 6 months – one modern and one classic presentation – ‘pioneering new practices and investigating new taste experiences, whilst respecting the traditions and history of Scotch’ [Whiskylive booklet].
Linkwood 10yo  Whisky Works ‘King of Trees’ [2157 bts] 46.5% WB0
Utilising Whyte & Mackay’s vast Linkwood stocks, for their inaugural ‘pioneering’ release, Whisky Works took a < 9yo and aged it for 7 months in a unique one-of-a-kind cask made from two 200yo Scottish oaks.
- C: Pretty clean and youthful, lemonade-y, beer & wine-like distillate on the nose, so no surprises there from youthful Linkwood distillate. It’s towards the finish that some more interesting & quirky differences [compared to, say a straight bourbon cask], emerge. What I would have liked to try alongside, was the whisky pre-Scottish-oak matured.
Scores 85 points
Port Dundas 29yo  Whisky Works ‘Glaswegian’ [1642 bts] 54.2% WB0
‘,… whilst respecting the traditions and history of Scotch’ [Whiskylive], Whisky Works open their account here with a closed distillery grain.
- C: A robust grain, one extremely resilient to water! Thanks to Nick and congrats to Greg on his new enterprise.
Scores 84 points
Apple’s ‘Notes’ absolutely sucks today! Random paragraphs randomly disappeared only to end up in other pages! Pen & paper though slower, are ultra-reliable.
Fettercairn  Un-Ob. 44.9%
Next door to Whisky Works, Fettercairn were busy promoting their two recently released expressions, the 12 & 28yo. As the Fettercairn 28yo [Blog87] had all gone, Margaret grabbed an under-the-counter number she’d blended herself last week, especially for the show. Margaret has been working alongside Richard Paterson for 40 years. Strikingly, her lipstick & nails perfectly matched the Whiskylive exhibitor wristband.
- C: From four cask types [bourbon < sherry & x2 port, the four whiskies in question were distilled in the years 1966, 1978, 1988 & 1990 respectively. From memory I think Deanston and Glen Moray have most recently made similar concoction, in the respect that they involved a number of cask types from subsequent decades. This kind of serendipitous offering perfectly demonstrates the likeable two-tier nature of Whiskylive, and was for me the whisky of the show. Kudos Margaret.
Scores 92 points
From old to new.
Hinch is Ireland’s newest Whiskey Distillery Company in County Down, Northern Ireland, making its international appearance at Whiskylive London. A distillery is in the planning stages [info], Meanwhile, Hinch is releasing part of its 4 million pounds worth of bought stock under the ‘Time Collection’ moniker, consisting of aged blends, pot still and peated Irish single malt.
I didn’t have much time with these, so all scores below are strictly provisional.
Hinch Bourbon Cask  Ob. Small Batch 43%
- C: Youthful bourbon cask-led distillate with a high grain content.
[Provisionally scores 79 points]
Hinch Single Pot Still  Ob. 43%
Irish single pot still means:
- Produced at a single distillery.
- Produced in a pot still, duh!
- Made from a mash of malted & unmalted barley.
- C: Whiskey with a likeable, nutty/husky character.
[Provisionally scores 82 points]
Hinch 5yo  Ob. Small Batch Double Wood 43%
- C: Controlled plastic-y/plasticine-y chew is all I noted.
[Provisionally scores 80 points]
Hinch 10yo  Ob. Small Batch Sherry Cask Finish 43%
A 25/75 grain/single malt ratio, I think [but don’t quote me on that], with a 6 month sherry finish.
- N: The youthful character continues, but this time it’s with depth.
- T: We have the Irish with us! – that’s dried [tropical] fruits and putty in my book.
- F: Firm yet lucid.
- C: I’d heard a lot of noise about Hinch, and here’s surely why. Hell yeah!
[Provisionally scores 88 points]
Hinch Peated  Ob. 43%
- C: Peat and youth work, we know this. Add the Irish element to that and you have a desirable peated dram.
[Provisionally scores 84 points]
Further reading: hinchdistillery.com
And that’s it for Whiskylive, London 2019. It’s been another great year.
Many thanks to all involved. See you next year!