Manchester Whisky Festival 

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So sometimes I do things of a slightly spontaneous nature. And this was one of them. And why the heck not?!

Friday morning had me up at silly o’clock and off to the airport for a relatively quick flight down to Manchester for The Whisky Lounge festival. Beautiful blue skies had driven away the fog that had threatened to delay the landing. It was to be a fresh look at this city.

I made my way to my hotel and was lucky to find my room was already available so I checked and unashamedly went for a sleep. After a bath and freshening up I decided it was time to explore. I spotted Paul (whiskyweegie) up a side street (pure chance) and approached him as he was in his boot (well, sort of) “don’t jump, I’m just saying hello!”.  A nice chat and a catch up before I continued my walk, the goal being The Whiskey Jar on Tariff Street for one of their G&Ts and the glass laced with Laphroaig 10. Sat across from a spot… (that’s for another time (okay that’s in “Inside the Bottle: The Contents”))

Anyway. I made it for a couple of G&Ts then back to my hotel and get ready for the festival, pick up my fudge and get sampling.

It was nice to see Gina on the front desk and a quick hello to Amanda.

So wristband on and up the stairs to collect my glass, pipette and tokens. Missed my chance at first through the door. There were some eager whisky fans that evening…

Had a lovely time tasting some delicious drams from Talisker, Highland Park, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Spey Whisky, Paul John, The Quiet Man. I’m sure there’s more… Tried some El Dorado Rum and spoke to lots of people about fudge.

One chap asked me how I put the whisky it in so I motioned a pouring action (ha ha.) Also had a lovely long chat with an older chap called Brian who definitely wanted to see my fudge elsewhere…really nice to know.

It was nice seeing the lovely and ever so funny Colin (Dunn) especially chatting over the Talisker 57 degrees North. Memorable.

Lots of giggles and a lovely hug from Kat (whisky discovery) too.

Then it was the last pour and time to go back to my hotel…

Or so I thought.

I’d nipped to Tesco for a drink and snacks and on the way back I heard “fudge lady!” This was Jen who I’d met earlier… I was then told I couldn’t possibly go back to my hotel as the night was still young. So I joined them in the Vine. Crappy whisky. Flat coke. They didn’t know how to make whisky sours, but we all had a good laugh.

I then decided it best to leave and went back and crashed out. A busy day ahead…

Saturday was late check out and back to the Town Hall for the early session. Equal first through the door! (Yeah I’ve still got it – ha ha.) Popped my case and bag down and got sampling… I started the day with Talisker Port Ruighe – lovely and interesting dram. Moving on I tried the Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso matured Batch OL0816 and yum yum.. met a tweeter on route too. Mr WGS19. And Greg of Great Drams and thus completing the full set of The Dram Team…surely that deserves a prize?!!

I had to watch how much I was having as I was flying later. I managed to sneak in an Aberlour A’bunadh batch 58…can’t beat an A’bunadh in my books. Then all too soon it was time to think about leaving (boo! hate saying goodbye- think I need to start saying “see you later!”)

Final dram? Yes it had to be a Paul John and a quick catch up with Craig & Sorren and a deliciously good dram (see my tasting notes on cask #1444.)

So all too soon it was “see you later” a hug or two and leaving some fudge with friends I had to head back to Manchester airport. I asked the Town Hall security for the quickest route back to Piccadilly Station at which he took my case from me, laughingly said “you and me, we’re finished”… led me down the steps and along to Tesco. Pointed out that I should follow the route or the trams and wished me a good day 🙂

Got to the airport with an hour to spare. I was bound for Inverness!

Thanks to everyone I met and chatted to in Manchester (apologies if I forgot to mention you.) Fun and giggles as per usual.


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