dinsdag 26 maart 2013

Whisky Festival Noord Nederland, Groningen, NL, 22-24 March 2013

The Whiskyfestival Noord-Nederland (North Netherlands) took place from the 22nd to the 24th of March 2013 in the lovely city of Groningen. Venue was the Der Aakerk, a medieval churchbuilding, right in the citycenter.
Around 5,000 enthusiastic whiskyfans visited this 8th edition of the festival.

Allthough it seemed slightly more crowded than last year's edition, it is still an easy going festival.
This festival attracts a wide variety of whiskydrinkers. For people who are just getting introduced to the world of distilled grain spirit, the festival offers a wide arrange of drams to choose from. And this for an entrance fee of €25,-.
For the more experienced whisky-enthusiast there's a variety of options. Numbers of masterclasses, a special whiskydinner on the night before the start of the festival at the Prinsenhof and lots of rare whiskies to choose from, for just a few euro extra.
As you can see in the video, besides drinks the festival has a lot of other things to offer, like great cheese, chocolates and all kinds and clothing.

What we really can recommend is the VIP-option. For a price of €85 you have admission to the festival with a few extras. One of them is that you don't have to stand in line in or out, no waiting for your jacket and some really rare drams to try.

A bonus is the nice food that is being served with the drams, all prepared by Inge Lanckacker, a great chef from Gand, Belgium who is specialised in cooking with whisky.
But, the greatest bonus is the chance to meet the rock and roll stars of the whisky trade, who come to the VIP-tent after finishing their masterclasses and present a special dram in a relaxed mood. People like Ad de Koning, Hans Offringa, Martine Nouet, Gordon Muir and Charles Maclean, they were all there.
All in all another great event, a big hand to all the volunteers who helped turning this festival into a success.

©Whiskytips 2013

vrijdag 15 maart 2013

Tasting Tomatin 12 YO 40% highland single malt whisky

Tomatin distillery, lying 315 metres (almost 1,000 feet) above sealevel, just 15 miles outside Inverness, was built in 1897.
The name means something like “the hillock of the juniper”.
It was the first Scottish distillery that came into Japanese hands.

It is one of the lesser known brands, that is, as a malt whisky, allthough it was once the largest malt distillery in Scotland during the seventies with 23 (!) stills.
The blends that belong to Tomatin, the Antiquary (great bottledesign) and Talisman are well known.
Tomatin malt whisky is also used in other blends, so we understand. Tomatin however is investing in promoting its own single malts a lot more. You can find them at many festivals around the world for one thing.
Also the whiskyshops seem to have picked up the enhanced attention for Tomatin whisky. We were recommended to try the 12 YO, which is basically the start of the range, with indeed a nice price. Certainly when you compare this to the prices of other Scotch whisky that are skyrocketing lately.
The 12 YO comes in a nice black box. “Distilled with pride” is the payoff. That's always good to hear.

We came to the following tasting notes:
Colour: deep copper/chestnut. But, so it says on the label, it’s colored..we can’t guess why because the label also states that this whisky was finished in Spanish sherry casks, which usually gives enough color to the whisky. Maybe too much color difference between the casks, but if you blend a lot of casks those differences will only be noticable to experts or a spectrophotometer (look it up on Wikipedia).
Nose: Funny enough it took some time for the nose to release. But after a gentle swirl the first note was honey, then ripe pear. The sherrynotes appear. While discussing the nose we also came up with the nose of liqueur
Taste: Sugarbarley, vanilla, apple, tangerine, charred wood, mouth coating. You can see it in the glass too: the “tears” are long.
Finish: Medium long, sweet, not too dry, bit of white pepper but not too sharp.

Our conclusion: this is definitely a whisky to try, a wee dram at a festival or just buy a whole bottle, it is affordable. We in any case are curious for the other Tomatin expressions.
And when you are in the neighbourhood of Inverness, make a stop at the distillery. There is a visitor centre that just has been refurbished in 2012. The distillery also has a cooperage with two coopers working, a thing you will not find at a lot distilleries.

Website: www.tomatin.com

Sources: The Malt Whisky Yearbook 2013, Whiskypedia and Discovering Scotland's Distilleries

©Whiskytips 2013