Whiskyfair Limburg 2010
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Limburg Whisky Fair 2010. April 24-25.
The whisky fair of Limburg is one of my favourite whisky events. I try to attend on a yearly basis. As for the previous edition, the sun was shining in the blue sky on this Saturday.
Not surprisingly, the queue was as long as in the previous editions. I decided to go for a walk through the remarkable old medieval town of Limburg and to visit the church (Dom) in the hope that the queue would melt quickly.
|The whisky enthusiast patiently waiting under the sun
Thirty minutes later, the situation had not changed much and I patiently waited until I could get inside, after having paid the entry fees of 8 euros. The attendance was as numerous as on the previous editions. My first stop was at Mara Malt-Rarities, were a lady at the stand was pouring a glass container with the Black Bowmore first edition. This malt immediately caught my attention, but unfortunately, I arrived too late. The last cls were being poured to a well known Alsatian wine maker. I decided to go for a 21 YO Glen Albyn from Gordon & Macphail, a 1966 Bowmore from Duncan Taylor, a Chieftain’s Choice from 1964 and finally for a private bottling of Springbank 1972. At the Dutch connection, I selected several Ardbeg from the 1970s, including an excellent sherried Ardbeg from Dun Eideann 17 YO distilled in 1973, an old Ledaig from James Macarthur as well as the latest Brora 1981 from Douglas Laing in their Platinum range. At another stand, I tasted 2 Dun Bheagan whiskies, the first one being a well made, sweet and fruity 34 YO (1975) Glendronach before moving to a sweet-spicy-salty Brora (26 YO) from 1981. After a first quick tour of the hall, I went back to the first stand for tasting a few Manager’s choice from Diageo, starting with a very good Caol Ila. A highly peaty, salty, smoky malt whisky, with a nice light sherry influence, before moving to a rubbery, slightly salty and very creamy Inchgower. Finally, I selected a very nice round and rich Dailuaine. The Caol Ila was the best Manager’s choice I have tasted so far, with the Dailuaine leaving a very good impression too. The Inchgower profile was quite different from the Fauna & Flora versions. The Talisker was only nosed, but did not really convince me. However, I would not mind tasting it. While tasting these Managers’s choice, the German Customs were passing by and checking the stand owners.
At the Whisky Fair’s stand, I tasted many of their new releases over the last few months, but I could not help tasting the 49 YO Strathisla from Gordon & MacPhail bottled at a whooping 53.2%! The nose was very sweet and fruity, with a rather strong presence of menthol and eucalyptus in the taste.
|An overview of the main hall
I then decided to pay a call to the tent, where I had the pleasure of meeting Max and Diego at the Whisky Antique and Good Whisky House stand to taste a superb old Springbank 10 YO bottled at 55.6 GL. I really enjoyed the superb balance between the salt, the peat and the sweetness. At the end of the day, the rest of the bottled was purchased by some Swiss hands. I am sure that they are going (had) to have a pleasant evening with that bottle! Then, I was kindly offered a 19 YO Port Ellen from 1981, a very good maritime and intense Port Ellen, even if bottled “only” at 40%.On my way to the restaurant for a well deserved break and lunch, I was served with a Glen Avon 40 YO bottled at 55%. An excellent, rich, complex, powerful and slightly peaty whisky, reminding me of the Glenfarclas Family Cask from the early 1950s.
|Diego and Max working hard in the tent
During lunch, I had a pleasant chat with some Springbank enthusiasts.
After this well deserved break and collection of samples ordered from some German whisky forums members, I returned to the tent for tasting the famous Springbank 12 YO 57.1% Samaroli. A superb whisky that I should taste again in better conditions. This bottle attracted a lot of attention to the stand of Max and Diego. Afterwards, I moved to Douglas Laing for a wee taste of a 1995 Glendronach bottled by Douglas Laing for the Passchendaele Pipe and drums. A very nice, sweet and slightly spicy Glendronach.The benefits of this cask will be given to charity.
I could not resist tasting the most “attended” bottle of the stand, a 20 YO Laphroaig sherry in their Old Malt Cask serie. The sherry was less present than in the famous version of La Maison du Whisky, but the peat was stronger. Very good indeed.
The stand of the Whisky Agency & Villa Konthor had a very nice display of The Whisky Agency bottles. The famous 1982 Perfect dram was already sold out, so I went for a younger version, a clean, peppery and mustardy Clynelish 14 YO bottled at 58%.
On the way back to the main hall, I stopped at the stand of Ian Gray, well know from his painting on the “whisky & distillery” theme.
For a change of idea and style, I attended partially to the presentation of Brian Townsend on the Lost Distilleries. His Book “Scotch Distilleries Missed” is probably the best available book on the topic.
|Brian Townsend during his presentation
At the Highlander Inn / Ichiro’s malt, the distillery owner of Chichibu distillery was presenting his new Ichiro’s malts, some from the Hanyu distillery and some spirit (new make , 3 months old and 1 year old, including a heavily peated version) from the new Chichibu distillery. I opted for a Ichiro’s Malt Double distilleries, combining malts from Hanyu and Chichibu. The result was a clean, very round and pleasant malt.
Finally, I stopped at the Alba stand for wee taste of the new Kilchoman Spring release and of the bourbon single cask for Germany. The Spring release was rather similar to the previous releases, with the wood spices being quite present. It tasted rather young. The Single Cask for Germany (cask 363/06) was more mature, rounder and more balanced. I liked it better than the Spring release. A nice chat with the “hansemalt.de” was initiated and I was kindly offered some Pralines made by www.hansemalt.de with 15 YO Jura whisky. These were probably the best German chocolates (praline) I have tasted so far, with the Isle of Jura flavours in harmony with the praline.
|Kilchoman and chocolates to close the day
After 7 hours of presence, it was time for me to take my return train.
I really enjoyed my stay in Limburg and I am sure that the BBQ and other parties organized in the evening are (were) worth attending. Unfortunately, I had other obligations.
The others stands (e.g., Lothar Langer, Alambic Classique, Whisky Doris, Weizer, Finlay’s whisky shop, Speciality Drinks, Blackadder, Scotch Malt Whisky Society and others) proposed very interesting products, but I had to make some choices. At Juming Jack Production (Jack Wieber’s Whisky World, the Laphroaig 1975 was very appealing, but unfortunately not for sale.
Not only I thoroughly enjoyed tasting and sampling a lot of excellent whiskies, but I enjoyed equally (if not more) talking to forum members of www.thewhiskyforum.ch, www.whisky-distilleries.info, or www.whiskymania.de, as well as to other whisky enthusiast from all over Europe that I regularly meet at other European whisky fair.
Of note, whisky rarities seemed to be considerably more expensive than last year(20-30%?). Crisis did not affect the prices of these old and sought after malt whiskies.
Limburg, see you next year?
Patrick ©25 April 2010