|We're counting down the sleeps until this show!|
|Nickolls and Perks Stourbridge corner shop|
Whilst the Saturday show ordinarily opens at midday for ticket holders the are a limited number of 'VIP' tickets which allow access from 1045 which not only gives you an extra 'Dream Dram' token, but more importantly to the serious whisky fan, unrivalled access to the Brand Ambassadors and shop for a full hour and a quarter in a relaxed unhurried atmosphere whilst canapés are served. Once again in addition to the VIP ticket, a 'Devotee' ticket was available which not only gave all the VIP advantages but a selection of Dream Drams samples to take home too!
We've attended all but the very first show and this will be their seventh event. Each time they are getting bigger and better, and this time they have announced a special Friday evening session alongside the usual Saturday show. Tickets are available for each session individually, and there are special deals for the full weekend.
We often hear complaints that there simply isn't enough time to visit every stand. Nickolls and Perks have listened and have introduced this new format and we're told that the Friday session, running from 6:00pm until 9:00pm, will have a slightly different feel too it with some added attractions
If you've read any of our previous show reports (and each of the other four show reports can be found on this blog) you'll know that it involves a bit of a train trek from Whisky Discovery HQ to Stourbridge. It's not really difficult, but it is a full day out!
You can see our previous Show reports here:
You can find out further information from their website here: Midlands Whisky Festival and while your booking your tickets let me tell you about our trip to Midlands Whisky VI last September.
Midlands Whisky Festival VI
We arrived in Stourbridge early which not only allowed us to take full advantage of our premium ticket, but also to grab breakfast and visit the Nickolls and Perks Whisky Emporium before heading over to the Town Hall for the start of the show. As soon as we arrived we headed straight over to catch up with Director of Sales and key organiser David Gardner to find out what was new this time. There were more Premium and Devotee tickets available this time and so to appease all, two Masterclasses were available, but you could only attend one of them. David had organised it so that we'd be able to cover both with a seat in each.
Our first dram of the day was from The Balvenie where The Miss Whisky was in-charge, we chose their First Fill Single Cask 12 year Old, a perfect ‘breakfast dram’ and great way to start the day! As it was a new cask, it was a new Whisky Discovery to record. In addition to the 12 Year Old Single Barrel Alwynne also had the 17 Year Old Double Wood and the 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask on offer.
|Kat with Scott and Alwynne|
I left Kat upstairs while I dashed downstairs and my second stop was to say good morning to The Macallan Brand Ambassador Joy Elliot, where my second Whisky Discovery was made with The Macallan 18 Year Old Sherry Oak. It was at The Macallan stand that I met Mark from The Malt Review for the first time, it was his first trip to The Midlands Whisky Festival too
|Mark from The Malt Review and Joy Elliot from The Macallan|
I went for a ‘wander’ while sipping my Springbank 21 year Old and ended up at the Morrison Bowmore stand where I spotted the Auchentoshan American Oak. I remember seeing this during my trip to Auchentoshan in July and seeing as I was coming to the end of my Springbank it would have been rude not to.
After having had a quick look around the stands I decided my attention should be spent at the Springbank Stand and decided to run through the range starting with their 10 Year Old to refresh my palate as it was a recent Whisky Discovery, The 10 was followed my the excellent 12 year Old Cask Strength where I decided that this alongside their 15 Year Old are 'must haves' for my shelf. The 12 CS was followed by the 18 Year Old which too is another fine dram.
|A belly full of Springbank|
We decided that we should try the Glenmorangie Signet, a new Whisky Discovery for the both of us, but I wanted Kat to also try their fabulous 25 Year Old. I first tried this at the London International Wine Fair with Dave Broome (name dropper!) and I insisted that Kat should try it – she agreed with me – it’s fabulous!
|A brace of 'Dream Drams' from Glenmorangie|
We started our Masterclass with the Fine Oak 15 Year Old – sadly no longer available in the UK but can be found on the continent. The 15 Year Old Fine Oak was followed by one of my favourites from the 1824 Series, Sienna. The 1824 Range was launched at Midlands Whisky III back in April 2013!
After reacquainting ourselves with Sienna, the Fine Oak 18 Year Old was next in the line-up, and another from the 1824 Series, Ruby followed. Next came the Estate Reserve, a Travel Retail Exclusive, again from the 1824 Series, and another memorable dram. The final dram from our Macallan Masterclass was their 25 Year Old which was simply stunning!
|The Macallan Masterclass Line up|
With the afternoon zipping along nicely I thought it was time to check out the Bourbons I saw earlier (and Kat had already told me about) and my palate needed a change so I headed back upstairs to find Wild Turkey and took the last dram out of this bottle of their 101, following that up with the 81. Both were a welcome break from the malts, but I preferred the 101 for sipping.
|A brace of Wild Turkeys|
Last pours were announced at 1630 and the hard-working stallholders started packing their wares up and emptying their bottles. My last ‘real’ dram was a Johnnie Walker ‘Odyssey’, but the final drink of the show was this ‘Smoky Cokey’ from Colin Dunn – Lagavulin 16 Year Old and coke. I know it sounds so wrong, but was a refreshing end to a fabulous show, we even caught Jon from Living Room Whisky nosing his Smoky Cokey!
And so another great Whisky Show was over and it was time to make our way home, and following our footsteps from the last Midlands Whisky Festival, we stopped of in the City Centre to grab some dinner before heading to the station and arrived safely home after around 14 hours from when we left that morning!
The next Midlands Whisky Festival is on Friday 27th/Saturday 28th March and tickets are selling fast! You can find out more information here: Midland Whisky Festival
We met a great number of people at the show and they're all definitely worth following if your on Twitter: @Ardbaggie @Nickolls_Perks @midlandswhisky @LRWhisky @themisswhisky @ColinDunnWhisky @thejoyofwhisky @MyWhiskyGuide @MaltReview @SCOTTDOGG11
|Get your tickets early!|
If we met and I've missed you off of this list please let me know and I'll update the list!
The full dram list included 17 new Whisky Discoveries, 6 revisits and one Smoky Cokey, and you can see all of the photos in our Facebook Album here
- WD#1003 The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Cask
- WD#1004 The Macallan 18 Year Old Sherry Cask
- WD#1005 Springbank 21 Year Old
- WD#1006 Auchentoshan American Oak NAS
- WD#963 Springbank 10 Year Old
- WD#1007 Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength
- WD#1008 Springbank 18 Year Old
- WD#1009 Glen Grant Majors Reserve
- WD#1010 Glen Grant 10 Year Old
- WD#1011 Glenmorangie Signet
- WD#438 Glenmorangie 25 Year Old
The Macallan Materclass with Joy Elliot
back to the Show
- WD#173 Longrow Red 11 Year Old
- WD#1016 Longrow NAS
- WD#1017 Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
- WD#1018 Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon
- WD#1019 Mortlach Old Malt Cask
- WD#563 Johnnie Walker Odyssey, and it was all washed down with a Smoky Cokey!