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article imageReview: Whisky Live 2013 hits London Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 23, 2013 in Food
Whisky Live, the global show extolling the delights of the world's finest whiskies, was in London this weekend. Digital Journal was in attendance.
Whisky Live claims to be the "world's premier tasting whisky show" and a fine selection of whiskies was on display this weekend, ranging from the best of the everyday fare available in bars and stores, to the rarer, single cask malts.
The latest leg of the 2013 show reached London this weekend and was held at the Honourable Artillery Company's Armoury House in Finsbury, just north of the City of London: a building of character and distinction.
Inside the Artillery Club for Whisky Live 2013  London.
Inside the Artillery Club for Whisky Live 2013, London.
The 2013 event was a mixture of trade stands, representing different distilleries and companies at which a variety of different whiskies could be tasted, and special classes where international experts took the participants through a sumptuous range of different single malts and top class blends.
A range of whiskies on display  ready to sample  at Whisky Live 2013  London
A range of whiskies on display, ready to sample, at Whisky Live 2013, London
At the trade stands, as well as the expected range of superb Scottish whiskies (from the ubiquitous Glenfiddich to the mighty Auchentoshan), the Digital Journal reporter was able to sample rarer whiskies. This included some unusually feisty whiskies from Taiwan (remarkably floral on the nose, with a sweet mellow aftertaste) and an opportunity to try a wide range of Japanese whiskies (which are now coming into their own, including the superb Nikka Taketsuru 21 Year Old).
The various stands were well spaced and there was plenty of opportunities, in relation to both the time available and variety presented, to sample most of what was on offer. What this reporter liked was that there was no pushy 'hard sell' and none of the actual stands sold bottles directly. To make purchases there was one shop set-up in the main arena.
However, what made the event special were the masterclasses at which experts gave advice on tasting whiskies, buying whiskies, selling whiskies at auction, and spotting fake bottles. This provided an opportunity to sample whiskies ordinarily outside the price range of the typical consumer (the most expensive whisky that this reporter sampled cost the equivalent of $450 per bottle).
Four tasty whiskies to sample at one of the masterclasses at Whisky Live 2013  London
Four tasty whiskies to sample at one of the masterclasses at Whisky Live 2013, London
The pass badge for Whisky Live 2013  London
The pass badge for Whisky Live 2013, London
The top whiskies tasted during the day were a Glenlivet 16 Year Old Nadurra (Batch 0712U), which to this reporter had a rich, creamy aroma of sweet vanilla and overripe grapes and then a lingering aftertaste of toasted oak and caramel; and a Balblair 1997, from which a pleasant aroma of barley and nutty vanilla wafted, followed through with a taste of fruity robustness and sweet vanilla.
A shot of the main area  where a sumptuous range of whiskies can be sampled. At Whisky Live 2013  Lo...
A shot of the main area, where a sumptuous range of whiskies can be sampled. At Whisky Live 2013, London.
However, the top whisky sampled was a magnificent Ardbeg Galileo. This was all the more satisfying given that this particular whisky is no longer available to purchase. On swilling the glass and taking a deep sniff the aroma was one of toffee and spice, followed by a big phenolic launch-pad of peat. With the taste, this was initially a little peaty, followed by a salty blend of cream and dried apricots.
The even also offered good quality food, books to buy, and a chance to mingle and discuss the finer points of whisky with different people. The people attending were a mix of different ages and there was a fair balance of both men and women.
Food being served at Whisky Live 2013  London. Expect some Haggis soon!
Food being served at Whisky Live 2013, London. Expect some Haggis soon!
One of the masterclasses at Whisky Live 2013  London.
One of the masterclasses at Whisky Live 2013, London.
After the event, this Digital Journal reporter reflected that the experience had been both edifying and enriching as he made a slightly wobbly journey home.
More about Whisky, Whiskey, whisky live, single malt, Alcohol
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