Whiskyship 2006 and other swiss events.

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The biggest whisky event of Switzerland, the Whiskyship, was held in Zürich between the 23rd and 26th of November 2006. The particularity of this event, is that the event is organized on 6 ships docked in the pier in the harbour of Zürich. During the same week, the managing director of Arran, Douglas Davidson was present and Susan Webster of Douglas Laing held a tasting at Paul Ullrich in Basel. I have been very busy and I managed to taste quite a lot of excellent whiskies, many were a good surprised and a few deceptions.

Of note, the number of samples tried was quite high and will appear in the tasting notes sections once tasted in “normal” conditions.

Basel events (Paul Ullrich, Basel)

Arran Whisky

Arran whisky is going very well, with an impressive annual growth of about 30% during the last 3 years. A few years ago, I tried a few Arran whiskies, which I found there rather unimpressive and only started to try them again this year, with the Sauternes finish and the new Arran 10 Years old. I can only say that the whisky has matured very well and the current Arran whiskies are much better than I expected. The tasting notes of the Arran 10 should be posted shortly. The Arran 10 YO offers a very good quality-price ratio.

With the increase in sales and in production, Arran is building a new warehouse, which will be able to hold about 3500 casks. The current storage capacity is only 2500 casks; therefore Arran has to store some casks on the mainland. The new warehouse should be ready beginning next year and this will be the first warehouse of its type in Scotland. It is based on the system used by French wine producers in Bordeaux (France) and it is fitted with a rotating “support”. It will allow sorting out the cask more easily and offers the capacity to rotate the casks. By doing so the contact with the wood will be more important and should improve the maturation and/or reduce the maturation time. The new warehouse is part of the development plan of £700’000 of Arran whisky and include a new packaging of the Arran whisky bottles, based on the current design of the Arran 10 YO bottles. Limited editions of cask strength bottles of bourbon and sherry versions will be available on an annual basis and 4-5 new expressions (e.g., Sauternes finish) will be produced each year.

Douglas Laing

Susan Webster from Douglas Laing was presenting some whiskies from the Old Malt Cask  (OMC) range, as well as from the Platinum and Clan Denny range. Good news, the Douglas Laing website will be completely redesigned by the end of the year.

To come back to the tasting, seven different whiskies were presented and the highlights were probably the Macallan 1977 Platinum, 50.3% bottled in 206 and the Port Ellen 1979 OMC bottled in July 2005 and finished in sherry. The Dumbarton 1965 44.1% from the Clan Denny range was very pleasant too, but it started to show its age.

After the tasting, I had the opportunity of tasting a superb Glendullan 1966 34YO CS Platinum.

P.Brossard ©10 Dec 2006