Yorkshire Whisky Festival – 10th September
This was my first festival.
So, why did I decide to go? One, it was an unknown. Two, it was near my old neck of the woods and three…WHISKY!
I’d seen rumblings of this event, and thought to myself “in for a penny, in for a pound”.
Booked a train, booked a bed, and off I went.
York here I come!
I was hoping to have gone to a Paul John tasting in Gate Helmsley the night I got there, but was a little unsure of the locale & getting back afterwards. That was a pity but I knew I’d be able to sample their delights the next day too.
Saturday morning found me a little nervous, but after a delicious breakfast and with directions to the race course pointed out to me, off I went.
When I arrived at Ebor Stand I recognised the familiar face of someone who has been my “go to” whisky friend for a number of years. Both on and offline. This was none other than Dave Worthington. After a brief hello Dave disappeared to go and set up the Boutique-y Whisky Company Stand.
I managed to secure a large coffee and waited for the start.
Next I received my wristband, Glencairn, pipette and guide. After purchasing some black & white tokens (under the counter drams) I was off up the escalator…what delights would greet me there?
I decided a bit of Dutch courage was needed….and found that in Speyside.
This first dram was the Benrinnes 23 year old…what a start! Heavily sherried, creme brûlée…glorious colour and nose and delicious. I also had a laugh with the chap on the stand (Speyside whiskies) as I said I had climbed Benrinnes he asked where I was from….yes, all that way. And I had a feeling it was going to be worth it.
Next was Penderyn. I’d often seen this in the supermarket and often wondered what this Welsh whisky would be like. I had a nice long chat with the lady there. And then I tried a couple….The Penderyn Peated which has been aged in ex-bourbon barrels and ex-peated Scotch whisky casks (Laphroaig?) A sweet, aromatic smoke, notes of vanilla, citrus and apple. I quite liked this. She also explained the AC and logo on the bottle denoting Welsh gold.
Kat from The Boutique-y Whisky Co. gave me some sound advice on drinking plenty of water to ensure I lasted the day. Would I?
Armed with a glow I headed round and the next person I met was Sorren on the Paul John stand who was working with Shilton Almeida. It was again nice to put a face to a name. Whilst I was there I was introduced to the range, and here I tried the Brilliance. Again, a delight in a glass…talking of glasses, well lanyards in fact. This lead me to meeting the next person that day. Ben “adramaday” Bowers who kindly answered my lanyard question. It was nice to say hello, and tell him I thought his charity (Children’s Heart Surgery Fund) idea was fantastic. I sponsored him a couple of months prior and would encourage others to do likewise. Sadly I forgot to sample his wares (silly me).
From then on I tried a few favourites of mine, namely Jura 21. And Jura Elixir. Chatting to different people and taking in a friendly atmosphere….more whiskies, conversations, laughter.
The Whiskyblender surprised me. I recognised the logo as something I had dabbled with a few years previously. When I mentioned this, he took out his phone et voila! my McWhisky Minx blend appeared. Here’s me thinking it would have disappeared off their systems.
Come 3 o’clock I left to change into something more me, and grab a bit of lunch. I’d been invited back to the afternoon session and I really couldn’t say no.
Four o’clock arrived and armed with a white wristband, glass and fresh pipette it was back up the escalator for the afternoon session.
This was another good session. Comments on my rosy cheeks and how I seemed to be doing well after being there in the morning. I was.
I tried anCnoc, visited the ladies from the Lakes Distillery, and also Compass Box.
Compass Box is definitely something I want to explore further – the Flaming Heart hmmm.
I had a couple of samples with The Boutique-y Whisky Co., met Dave McKinnon and his wife. Had a chat and went wandering….
After sending out an SOS “Save Our Sarah”…I needed some company by that point I was directed to “the top of the escalator, pink shirt”. Here I met Craig and Michelle. We had a good old time and tried some whiskies, had fun and a bloody good laugh and discussed the whisky life.
But the day was now drawing to a close and sadly it was time to go, after meeting Rob, and then Michelle taking a snap of Craig, Sorren and Rob it was basically time to leave…
An all too quick and all too hasty goodbye…a few hugs and I left.
Would I do it again?
Did I feel like I fitted in?
Would they have me back?
Well, that’s for them to decide….(answers on a postcard, or the back of a sealed down envelope to…well, me I guess.)
And now, I have the remainder of some Aberlour 23 year old and another couple of samples left and I know I’ll sit and enjoy them whilst thinking about a great day.
Thanks all 🙂