Maltstock 2013 day 1 and TWE Master class with Billy Abbott
That time of year has come and I’ve found myself packed and ready to head to the airplane at a ridiculous hour of night in order to make it to Schiphol AMS airport by 0830 am. But I could not complain, as I was going to have a wonderful 3 day whisky experience again (well last year was grand wasn’t it?).
After trying to catch a bit of shut eye on the plane (KLM was not that bad), and picking my suitcase, i was able to find my good mate Sjoerd (which by the way, is the number one whisky friend EVER!) and head off to malt whisky land. We did stop on the way over at Tom’s house, had some coffee (which was much needed after a 3 hour sleep!) and cake and then began our journey south towards Nijmegen, with a stop at Amersfoort and a quick nice visit to van Wees to see what they have around. They actually have a very nice selection of whisky, yet the prices are quite high comparing to other shops, so I decided not to buy anything there.
Tradition is important, and as we’ve been planning on this weeks before, We arrived in Sint Walrick around 1400 in time for beer and some Awesome pancakes at the local restaurant and pancake house. We sat down, only to meet Ansgar and Thomas Speller, my twitter friends, who I knew were coming over to maltstock. It’s a small world. I was quite famished after the ride, so a huge pancake with cheese, bacon and Pineapple (Annanas, weird they call it like that here, as we use the same word in Hebrew!), which was epic, with a couple of Dommelsch pilsner (it was rather hot that day, almost 30).
Around 1600 it was time to head on to the Maltstock camp (about 1 minute drive from there) and meet friends, get our dorm and start dramming. This year I was fortunate to share a room with 6 nice people including Ernie, Sjoerd, Jon Beach, and Steffen Brauner the well known Danish Blogger and whisky fan, whom I’ve never met before although sharing lots of whisky moments online…
After settling down, it was time to meet the guys and ladies and start drinking some whisky before our first master class was about to start, a 1645 with Billy (@cowfish) who was bringing some TWE goodies with him. Now, if you’ve been following MS for the past 2 years, you would know that Billy is notorious for being late to his Master classes at MS. Two years ago he was late due to forgetting his passport at home, then last year, he was late due to other transport stuff. This year however it was going to be totally different so he promised me when we met earlier tthis August for a few beers in London while i was visiting the UK with family. I was a bit sceptic, but as Rocky Adrian lancer (formerly from BBR and now at TWE) was taking care of trains and transportation, He really kept his promise, and Lo and behold – they were on time! So, Billy – we’re proud of you! (see pic).
Last year I did not manage to get into billy’s MC, so this year I was really looking forward to it, as he was also promising new stuff which are only decided upon very close to the MC. This year’s MC was focused on single casks to be released by Speciality drinks (the sister company of TWE) for the upcoming whisky show this October in London.
We started with a nice The Whisky Exchange Masterpieces Clynelish 1996 – 18yo 56.1%, which is the third batch after those two( here and here) . Each of the whiskies was already poured into the glasses, and we had to guess what it was. That dram was rather nice, with some nice apple and citrus, going on , although i did not get that waxiness one usually associates with a Clynelish.
We continued with a Springbank 1995 bottled at 56.1% for this year’s show something like that (bottled last year) which was nice briny, with a lovely peat feel to it. quite chewy, with hot cinnamon with a nice long briny and smoky finish. People did manage to guess what that was quite fast. It was a nice Springer, although not among the top 5 Springers I’ve had this year.
Me inspecting the color and hue of the Dailuaine
The third dram was the nicest one by far IMHO, a Dailuaine 29yo – 53.6% . Totally gorgeous nose to it, deep and complex (in a good way – haha!) , One I’d love to have on my shelf. good stuff!
We proceeded to the 4th which was clearly a Coal Ila from the nose and palate. Caol Ila 18yo – 56.1% , Nice enough, yet nothing out of the ordinary. Peat, fruit and some medicinal stuff you expect from a Caol Ila. Nothing memorable though.
The last dram was something else. it was peaty, but very fierce, and felt quite young to me. I knew i had something really similar to that a few days before ( A Malts of Scotland Ledaig 5yo) but i could not connect the dots,i however was able to say it was younger than 8 yo, while most people though it was older. Ferocious little dram, with a great body and presence, it was the Ledaig 7yo – 59.6%, yep… a little monster, and some water did help make it more palatable.
Lovely stuff all around, with Billy being Billy, which is lots of fun too. More about the rest of the day in the next post.