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article imageLatest whisky bottlings unveiled at Whisky Live 2016 Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 20, 2016 in Travel
London - Whisky Live, the touring whisky road show, showcasing the best whiskies from around the word, returned to London. The focus of this year's event was speyside single malts, among other leading bottlings.
Digital Journal attended Whisky Live 2016, sampling some of this year's award winning selections.
The first wave of people entering Whisky Live 2016. The first stand  the Salt Bar  offers some whisk...
The first wave of people entering Whisky Live 2016. The first stand, the Salt Bar, offers some whisky cocktails.
The venue for Whisky Live 2016 was Armoury House, which is part of the Honourable Artillery Company, in central London. The Honourable Artillery Company is a charitable organization.
The event consisted of numerous distilleries and retailers, offering free samples of a range of different whiskies.
Here there were many opportunities to discuss the whiskies with experts.
A selection of small drams of rarer whiskies  together with some fine glassware on show.
A selection of small drams of rarer whiskies, together with some fine glassware on show.
Each event attendee is given a Glencairn glass  the ultimate glass for tasting whisky. This is fille...
Each event attendee is given a Glencairn glass, the ultimate glass for tasting whisky. This is filled up at the dozens of exhibition stands.
Some offerings were from single distilleries; other stands offering whiskies from different countries, such as American corn whiskies.
There was also the opportunity to try a range of "airport exclusives", under the banner of world whiskies.
There were opportunities to eat as well, among the fine setting of Armoury House.
A break from whisky tasting  happy punters tucking into food at Whisky Live 2016.
A break from whisky tasting, happy punters tucking into food at Whisky Live 2016.
Indian whiskies have come on considerable in recent years. A selection were on show at this year's event.
While India a huge whisky-drinking nation (the biggest of them all if you look at the consumption figures) most of what is produced and labelled as whisky is not "whisky" by accepted definitions, for most of what is bottled is a molasses-derived spirit. There are some exceptions, such as Amrut. The peated version was a pleasant drink. It is 24 parts per million (peat) and it succeeds in fizzing along the tastebuds.
Whisky from India being served at Whisky Live 2016. These whiskies are early-maturing  thanks to tro...
Whisky from India being served at Whisky Live 2016. These whiskies are early-maturing, thanks to tropical climatic conditions which accelerate the maturation process.
Another interesting India one was from Paul John Distillers, called Brilliance. This whisky is made using barley from the foothills of the Himalayas and it is distilled and matured in Goa. The resultant drink is fruity with a notably creamy texture.
There were also two stands featuring a range of Japanese whiskies. What was interesting here was how the tastes varied according to the region of Japan, and whether the distillery was located close to a forest or near to the sea. Those nearer the forest were most fruity and lighter; whereas those closer to sea had a slightly salty flavor.
Whisky from Japan being sampled at Whisky Live 2016.Here Blends such as Hibiki and Nikka From the Ba...
Whisky from Japan being sampled at Whisky Live 2016.Here Blends such as Hibiki and Nikka From the Barrel are rightly lauded for their quality.
Perhaps the best of the Japanese selection was the Hibiki 12 year old. This is a blended whisky using malt whisky from Yamazaki and Hakushu, as well as grain whisky from Chita. The whisky is partly matured in plum liqueur barrels. It is a fine sherried malt and a subtle core of oak.
Less than a century old and with only a handful of distilleries  Japanese whisky has moved fast to d...
Less than a century old and with only a handful of distilleries, Japanese whisky has moved fast to develop its own unique style; here are a selection, as exhibited at Whisky Live 2016.
Of the Scottish whiskies, there was a fine selection from Glen Morray. This is a range of speyside region whiskies, from Scotland, and several were on offer. The distillery was founded in 1897.
Glen Morray whisky on show at Whisky Live 2016.
Glen Morray whisky on show at Whisky Live 2016.
Trying the Glen Moray Classic first, this is the distillery's entry level single malt, aged for an average of seven years in ex-bourbon casks. Following this, there is a richer version finished in port casks, adding sweetness and extra richness.
The entry level Glen Morray 10 year old  on show at Whisky Live 2016.
The entry level Glen Morray 10 year old, on show at Whisky Live 2016.
Unusually for a speyside whisky, a peated version is available. This is called Elgin and it as a light, refreshing dram with notes of smoke and vanilla.
The highlight of whisky live is the tastings. Digital Journal dropped into three. The first presented four examples from the Tomintoul whisky distillery. The distillery, opened in 1964, is Scotland’s highest at 1132 feet.
A selection of whiskies to be tasted from the Tomintoul whisky distillery.
A selection of whiskies to be tasted from the Tomintoul whisky distillery.
Among those tasted was the 10-year-old. This whisky is pleasingly viscous, with notes of barley sugar, toasty cereals, acacia honey and malt extract.
The host introducing Tomintoul whiskies. The distillery is within the whisky producing region of Spe...
The host introducing Tomintoul whiskies. The distillery is within the whisky producing region of Speyside, famous for making great tasting whiskies. The area surrounding Tomintoul is of astounding natural beauty, with an array of flora and fauna specific to the region.
This contrasted with a version matured in sherried casks.
Tomintoul sherried whisky  a different take on the Speyside classic.
Tomintoul sherried whisky, a different take on the Speyside classic.
This whisky produced notes of sultanas, cut hay and malt extract and a touch of barley sugar, on the nose. This was followed by an exhilarating taste of crisp barley sugar with toasty cereals and a soft honey.
A selection of offering from the Tomintoul whisky distillery.
A selection of offering from the Tomintoul whisky distillery.
Another tasting, held in the VIP room, was for Port Askaig, with is on the Scottish island of Islay. This is a mystery single malt whisky, produced on Islay and selected to demonstrate the character of the whiskies from the island.
Different editions of Port Askaig being sampled away from the crowds in the VIP lounge at Whisky Liv...
Different editions of Port Askaig being sampled away from the crowds in the VIP lounge at Whisky Live 2016.
Three variants were sampled. The first was the 100 percent proof, the entry level version. This cask strength expression has notes of sweet fruit, peat smoke and minerality. This was followed by the 16 year-old, which presents combination of bourbon- and sherry-cask-aged whisky.
The final one from Islay sampled was the 30 year old, which costs £375 ($500 per bottle.) This was a fine dram. There were soft smoky notes with licorice and banana bread.
The final tasting was a smaller, more exclusive event, presented by whisky expert Jonny Mcormick. The event was "Spectacular Speyside."
A selection of whiskies to try from the Speyside region. Pens and paper provided  so tasting notes c...
A selection of whiskies to try from the Speyside region. Pens and paper provided, so tasting notes can be made.
Digital Journal s whisky tasting notes.
Digital Journal's whisky tasting notes.
The host illustrated the discussion around the whiskies with slides from around Scotland.
One of the slides being shown at the Speyside tasting at Whisky Live 2016  a little education mixed ...
One of the slides being shown at the Speyside tasting at Whisky Live 2016, a little education mixed with the tasting.
The whiskies on show included Aberlour (10 year-old) which carried the classic caramel and honey flavors of a speyside single malt; a Glenrothes, which was easy to drink; and a Cragganmore which provides an initial aromatic blast of citrus, followed by floral notes. This whisky was very clean and refreshing.
Whisky tasting is a serious business.
Whisky tasting is a serious business.
Whisky Live is a fun event. Although there is a large focus on sampling whisky, there is plenty of discussion and opportunity to learn about place, processes and history.
A happy crowd tasking whisky at Whisky Live 2016.
A happy crowd tasking whisky at Whisky Live 2016.
Again, while plenty is drunk, people are amiable and friendly and the tour, if it comes to a city near you, makes for an enjoyable afternoon or evening.
Over for another year  people leaving Whisky Live in London  2016.
Over for another year, people leaving Whisky Live in London, 2016.
More about whisky tasting, whisky live, whisky london, Whisky
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