7 October 2014

04/10/2014 The Whisky Show 2014 (Day 1 -- Part 3)

After the masterclass, we all agree it is time for solid intake. But first, we need to get back where we started from. Not a mean feat, here: the Vinopolis venue is a maze. And it is also home to Vinopolis, the wine experience. On a Saturday, that is packed with wine enthusiasts. We never find the way back and have to ask a member of Vinopolis staff... who has no idea how to get us there. No-one from the Whisky Show is to be seen. The Vinopolis guy calls for help in his walkie-talkie, to no avail. He ends up taking us through a door that reads, 'do not enter.' We get out through the cloakroom. Massive cock-up, here. There are at least twelve security guards in the halls, none to escort us back to the venue or give indications. The attendance left the masterclass in small, inebriated groups. There was not a chance in hell everyone would make it back alright.

The Brasserie is tucked away. Add to that that we are merry as fuck, the result is that we cannot find it and have no intention to try hard. I grab AH from TWE, ask for directions and bribe him with a sip of Dram #2 from the masterclass. His indications leave to be desired, but he seems happy with the whisky. :)
We sort of manage to find the Brasserie and spot even more stands (Diageo and Bowmore are well hidden, this year!)

The Brasserie is a complete mess. One of the previous years, I wrote that it took a measured eight seconds on average for the staff to collect empty plates. Each table is full of them, today and there is no staff about. It does not matter, though. The really annoying point is that the queue for food is 45 minutes long, close to 17:00. No lamb left. Then the potatoes run out. When they finally bring more lamb, they have no veggies left. The staff is visibly embarrassed. They remain stoic, as do most in the queue, but let us be honest: it is a disaster. We end up getting (replacement) food: pumpkin lasagna for JS, smoked-haddock kedgeree for dom666 and myself. By the time we sit at our table with vegetables (no potatoes: we lose patience), everything is cold. A shame, since it is otherwise pretty tasty.
Same scenario for dessert: long queue of people, enough food, no plates. The crumble is a collection of apple slices with a few drops of flour, while the custard is the object of a very long tirade by one of the guests. He even says he will bring his own tomorrow to compare and show what it should be like. It is in fact rather good too, but has the consistency of warm milk. Not much of a custard, then.
Ultimately, we are only annoyed because of the waste of time. But at least, we get to eat. Many others have left the queue, never to come back.
At lunch, we meet MB, who was at the Gordon & MacPhail masterclass. Chats, laughs and tips are shared.

Adelphi is really popular, this year
Only an hour to go before the doors close. We quickly decide how best to spend it and run to Douglas Laing's. En route, we bump into MJ and Mrs. J again, exchange impressions. I have been texting MJ recommendations and am outraged he has not followed any. I steal his wife: off to Teeling's we are, the 21yo she tries... and she succumbs (of course).
They have to go, unfortunately. Back to Laing's.

Invergordon 26yo 1988/2014 (50.6%, Douglas Hamilton Clan Denny, C#DH10250): how quaint that the now split-up Laing brothers both have similar Invergordons simultaneously? There was supposed to be a second 'gordon here (according to the list), but it is now announced as a typo or otherwise mistake. Sob. Nose: toasted wood, overbaked ginger bread, varnish and smoke (yes). Mouth: spices, wood, splinters, bakery and alcohol, not very well integrated. Finish: marmalade cake, lemon rinds, sticky pudding. How quaint that the now split-up Laing brothers both have similarly mediocre Invergordons simultaneously? That should read: mediocre (to my taste), I suppose. Still nice to get to try them. 6/10

Deanston 20yo 1994/2014 (51.5%, DL Old Particular, Refill Hogshead, C#DL10426, 188b): always a treat to get to taste that obscure distillery. Nose: lemon curd, pine cones. Mouth: lemon tea, parsley. Finish: more lemon, oak (kept in check), parsley. Good dram, though nothing too spectacular. 7/10

We make our final move to Adelphi's.

Miltonduff 32yo 1981/2014 (54.2%, Adelphi Selection, C#5087, 226b): nose: jasmine tea. Mouth: manuka honey, hawthorn. Finish: long, with vanilla, custard, coconut. This is lovely indeed! 8/10

Glen Grant 18yo 1996/2014 (54.4%, Adelphi Selection, C#67817, 203b): nose: delicate custard, soft apricots. Mouth: silky and fruity, akin to apricot flesh. Finish: some punchy yellow fruit with a tiny whiff of coffee. 7/10

At Whyte & MacKay, GR is waving at me. I pay him a visit and tell him dom666 is upset last year's Jura girl is not pouring, this time around. She was much more to his taste than GR is (however handsome a fellow he is). I am treated to:

Isle of Jura 30yo Camas An Staca (44%, OB, b.2013): yes, we had it last year, but what the hell, eh? Nose: butter, leather, smoke, cow butt (you read that correctly), coffee. Mouth:  buttery, sticky, peppery, with coffee and toffee. Finish: long, warming, milky coffee. I cannot say it is my favourite style, but it is well made. 7/10 (Thanks, GR)

Every stall shuts down and we are kindly pushed towards the exit. A roller-coaster of a day, yet this is only the beginning. Tomorrow, the survivors will be pushed to the limit, as you can read here.

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