Following on from Part 1, this is my last installment from TWE 2019 – finally. It’s only taken 4 months! Just five loose ones left, ordered again by age, almost.
The Foz passes me this, no doubt another from the whisky.auction stand [WLP].
- C: I guess a Strathmill, a sulphury Strathmill. Overall, a forward/bold neutral-to-weird single cask malt not in keeping with what I’ve read from other commentators. Then again, every bottle of whisky becomes a unique example, more and more, as the years pass.
Scores 78 points
Deemed a blended malt, this is almost certainly [teaspooned] Glenfarclas.
- N: Like so many of these uber-old vintages, there’s a beautifully enticing floral fruitiness on the nose.
- T: Sherry, and bourbon? Either way, it’s a beauty.
- F: The oak comes close but stays at bay.
- C: Lovely as expected but the price is more than a push too far.
Scores 89 points
I’m not quite with it today. I ask Ben Bowers of ‘A Dram a Day‘ fame, for the 1972 Benriach, doh! Thankfully he was on the ball.
- N: A closed nose that reluctantly opens just a little [in the time I had]. I picked out splintered oak alongside a mintiness and an onion-freshness.
- T: Charred sherry oak-sugars, a touch of root veg and mince pies is all I noted.
- F: The finish bears congealed oil, but those oaked sugars from the palate remain, accompanied by a pleasing barley freshness.
- C: This cask yielded only 75 bottles, so rare stuff indeed! With gratitude to Ben.
Scores 89 points
- N: It’s silly season ladies and jelly-spoons. We find ourselves in the high-octane sherry-oaked tincture-zone! I find whiskies of this ilk and at this age, require time and management – something incongruent at festivals.
- T: “Full-on stupid”, says BA. No kidding!
- F: Sweet oak to the max, finishing with a mad bitter-dryness.
- C: Not sure I gave this enough time to score it properly, or maybe I wasn’t in the mood for it this morning!
[Provisionally scores around 88]
I normally spend an hour or more at TBWC stand. Due to the size of this year’s show, and with only two days to navigate it, I simply didn’t get round to them. My loss! However, when last pours have been poured, this is the one place peeps usually congregate.
Bourbon Whiskey 24yo TBWC Batch #1 [btl #780/8376] 48% [50cl] WB87.92
This is the biggest batch of any spirit I’ve seen from Boutique-y by a long stretch. What’s the story?
- N: Murky fungal detergent-y, vanilla soda.
- T: Same again, fungal detergent – edgy stuff. Good stuff!
- F: Same again. My brief notes don’t reveal it, but this is a good bourbon.
- C: Pappy Van Winkle 15-20yo for a fraction of the cost!
Scores 86 points
My summary of TWE Show 2019
This year’s festival layout/floor plan was a hit. With all-new signage for all stands, the ‘trending’ exhibitors were cleverly interspersed besides more niche stalls, creating space on the floor and effectively eradicating bottlenecks – especially but not specifically, upstairs. Furthermore, the new layout encouraged new exposure for customers used to their old favourites, to new things from niche distillers. A master-stroke!
Many complained Saturday was too busy. However, with 800+ different whiskies and other spirits available, it was easy to move along and come back another time. The rare exception were stands such as Ardbeg, who’s three bottles per day of their core range 19yo seemed less unattainable than Brora, Port Ellen and Karuizawa. Most couldn’t buy it or try it, no fault of the show.
In the food hall, we saw ongoing improvements with regards to options for ethically-discerning & health-conscious consumers. This year’s re-organisation meant no queuing either side of rush-hour. Brilliant!
A shout-out to the cloak-room staff who, every year, follow through their duties with competence and grace.
The Brora masterclass [WLP] was unfortunately scheduled too late in the day – even the host complained – but organisationally, the masterclasses themselves ran like clockwork. Bravo!
My unexpected surprise of the festival was Gonzales Byass. I inadvertently became embroiled in a flight of their entire range [right pic, above], with profiles ranging from deeply sour to utterly sweet. What an ‘eye-opening’ experience for my, er, palate. I hope those guys come back next year. I shall repeat.
Even though I whittled my to-try list down to nearer 200, I’m gutted I missed easily more than half of those. It highlights what a gold mine of drams are on offer at this fabulous show. My top 8 [90+]:
- Glen Garioch 1968 29yo cask #621 56.3% [WLP93]
- Glenlivet 25yo Ob. Royal Wedding Reserve 43% [WLP92]
- Benriach 1976/2004 27yo First Cask #9445 46% [WLP90]
- Blair Athol 1997 21yo Adelphi sherry cask #5773 57.2% [WLP90]
- Bowmore 1994/2019 25yo Adelphi Refill Sherry cask #554 [498 bts] 54.2% [WLP90]
- Brora 1978/2019 40yo Ob. 200th Anniversary [WLP90]
- MacPhail’s 1938/1988 50yo G&M The Dram Taker’s 40% [WLP91]
- Strathisla 1957 49yo G&M 1st fill sherry butts [WLP91]
See you next year, for a three-day extravaganza!