As you’ll all know by now I don’t really get out much, part of this is just being a busy man with a family but if I’m honest I don’t really like crowds and have to really force myself not to run screaming back to the safety of my own home, it’s just one of those things I have to deal with so being invited to the inaugural Fife Whisky Festival was both exciting and daunting.
I decided to attend for a few reasons, the first being it’s a small affair focusing on smaller brands, which I approve of, and it was put on by Justine Hazelhurst and Karen Somerville both of whom are excellent people.
The second reason is that when I feeling down about my own small corner of the interweb and was thinking about chucking it, well, it was Justine who persuaded me to keep going something I will be eternally thankful for.
And of course another reason is that it’s whisky and some of my favourite whisky people were attending both a work and punter capacity.
The bus out which I hitched a lift on was run by the ever wonderful Julie Hamilton of the Glasgow Whisky Club and the bus was full of the Clubs finest, and me.
Julie was in fine form sipping gently from what she called feminine whiskies and talking about what a great job Diageo were doing in promoting women in whisky, or something like that, I had a couple of drams and things are a bit hazy now if I’m honest.
The festival itself was held in the Corn Exchange in Cupar, Fife, a charming venue split over two floors with dozens of vendors plying their wares.
After a wee speech from Karen co director and owner of Angel’s Share Glassware and the official opening by around the world cyclist Mark Beaumont the festival was declared open and everyone got well and truly torn in.
Drams were flowing and it was a delight to finally meet Dave Worthington formerly of Whisky Discovery and now That Boutique-y Whisky Company a man who I feel I’ve known for years but wonderful to finally shake the great man’s hand.
Like the other review I did for another festival I attended I’m not going to go into massive detail of every stand but I will mention a few highlights.
Finding small distillers here is always a treat, the big boys have massive advertising and media budgets so these events are perfect for promoting the small outfits.
That Boutique-y Whisky Company the funky independent bottler were there offering up some fantastic drams as always, Dave was a charm as he talked me through them and the 21 Year Old Tormore was outstanding, I might disagree with the 50cl bottles but you really cannot argue about the quality of the spirit, everything they produce is outstanding.
Lots of New Make was on offer as well as some one and two year old aged spirit drinks, Kingbarns 2 Year Old and New Make had a great flavour and the Ardnamurchan Spirit was just outstanding, well worth a try if you find any. As an aside the Deanston New Make was very pleasant too.
So, drinks of the day? Well there were a few.
Special shout out to Jackie at Kingsbarns for the Old Fashioned cocktail, I could have drank that by the pint, although I’m glad I didn’t.
A small distillery I need to look into more is Strathearn, I tried their rum and a sherry cask whisky and both were just brilliant, watch this space for more in depth reviews on their products when I can get hold of them.
Out with whisky, and that one rum I tried, I also managed to try a couple of Cognacs. I’m a big fan of Cognac and both the A. DE Fussigny I tried were superb and I have a bottle to do a proper review over the next week or two.
Dram of the day time then and it has to go to something special from Deanston, the Decennary is a special distillery only bottle and was just wonderful, it’s pointless trying to do a review of anything at a festival but it was a joy, I will try and get more info and try my best to get enough to review but if you are going to take anything from this article then it’s get yourself to Deanston and buy this bottle.
To sum up, this was a grand day out, split into two sessions I was at the first and I nipped out for half an hour to get the end of the football and grab a Greggs before getting back involved.
It was good despite my own anxiety making me want to find a wee corner to have a nap in, it was great to meet some other whisky writers, Brora Rover and Roy from Aqvavutae and great to try some new drams.
Links below to some top folk.