Munich Whisky Festival- A Report From Gary Nelson

From 4th thru 6th of February the first “Munich Whisky Festival” took place at the Praterinsel, a historic location on a small island in the river Isar in Munich downtown. Well, Munich has the audience for such an event and for that we were looking forward. I took my bar-chef with me and we arrived at lunchtime (by train) in Munich. The location is predestined for a whisky festival due to the fact, that in former times schnaps and liquers have been produced here. The main area has been installed in the Old Filling Hall, well ‘ nomen est omen’.

The area equipped with booths from the different import companies or the distilleries is about half as big as the “InterWhisky Fair” in Frankfurt. This time Ireland was represented very strong with three booths. After tasting the Clontarf, a much too sweet blend from the green island, we’ve found the revelation from Ireland: Bushmill has bottled a special fair Single Malt richly peated and with some components which has reminiscence of Islay. I am awaiting the delivery of two bottles for our Whisky Bar in the hotel, Dehner Blumen. Most of the other exhibitors didn’t pour out anything, which was surprising and disappointing.

The booths of Talisker, Glenfiddich and Balvenie have been extremely overcrowded and is was hard to get a drop of the Balvenie Islay Cask. At the Talisker booth I had the luck the meet the secretary of the Germany chapter of the “Keepers of the Quaich”. He took us behind the booth to taste the new 20yo with a bit more silence.

At the booth of a well-known trader from N├╝rnberg, who only sells Chieftain’s, we tasted a 30yo Brora Pedro Ximenez Cask. A wonderfull strong sherry character without water; put some water in it and you’ll have a typical northern highlander with loads of pepper and salt.

Joining another trader we’ve been provided with a sample of the new Edradour 1994 Bordeuax Finish Cask coming out later this year; what a nose and what a taste, hints of cognac and strong oak, really great, I’ve ordered two bottles.

Passing by at Laphroaig and meeting again Robin Shields, we had to realize, that there wasn’t any drop of the new quarter cask at the booth. We had a nice small talk with the promise to meet again in June on Islay.

The best experience, of the day, was at the overcrowded booth of Ardbeg. First we had a dream of the Kildalton, which you surely know, lightly peated but still an Ardbeg. But the highlight for me was tasting the 21yo Committee whisky in cask strength. The drams were very expensive but we took two; wonderful! Now I am desperately searching for such a bottle. The Kildalton is not a problem, but the 21yo, well.

We finished the day with a dinner in a restaurant close by and took a late train back home.

I am looking forward to the next whisky festival in Limburg in April, but first Scotland also in April.

All the best from Bavaria

Gary

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