The second edition of the Highlander Whisky Festival took place this weekend in Alkmaar. While last year I went there with Anneke, this year I took some friends with whom I hadn’t been to a whisky festival in ages.
The setup was quite similar to that of last year with a few more stand than last year and somewhat more visitors. Still all well under the numbers there were in Den Haag in November. The second thing that is highly interesting is that all stands are of equal size. So no half church for Diageo while some smaller importer has to display twice as many whiskies in half the space. I think that is a brilliant call from the organization.
I didn’t take any tasting notes, since I really didn’t feel like it. The night was more focussed on chatting with friends and whisky people. Between the three of us we tasted 17 whiskies:
- Macduff 2000, Creative Whisky Company, Drinks & Gifts Krommenie, 56.5% (*****)
- Glenlivet 15, 1996, The Ultimate, 46% (****)
- Linkwood 15, Gordon & MacPhail, 43% (***)
- Glen Scotia 19, Kintra Whisky (****)
- Mortlach 22, Kintra Whisky, 47.9% (*****)
- Macduff 29, 1978, Scott’s Selection, 44.4% (****)
- Macallan 22, 1989, Scott’s Selection, 49% (***)
- BenRiach 20, 1991, Scott’s Selection, 53.4% (***)
- Inchgower 29, 1982, Duncan Taylor, 54.6% (*****)
- Bunnahabhain 10, 2000, Adelphi, 59.8% (*****)
- Springbank 17, Berry Bros & Rudd, 46% (**)
- Octomore Comus, 5, 61% (****)
- Tomatin 30, 46% (review will follow)
- Ardbeg 1994, Murray McDavid Mission, 56.5% (***)
- Caol Ila 1991, Port wood, Dun Bhaegan, 53.6% (****)
- Mortlach 16, 1992, Milano Whisky Festival, 58.7% (*****)
- Longmorn Glenlivet 1971, Scott’s Selection, 57.8% (*****)
For my friends the Longmorn-Glenlivet was by far the best, but I’m a bit in doubt about that. If not the best, it would be second best to the Inchgower 29 by Duncan Taylor. Both terrific whiskies and on opposite sides of the spectrum, which I actually like.
I had some nice chats with Hans Offringa, who brought a sample of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey with him from The States, so I could review my review. I tasted that one from a paper cup in a motel and didn’t like it (no surprise there). He thought I had to retry in a better setting. Jock Shaw was kind enough to let me taste the Octomore Comus which I really like as well. Only bested by the Orpheus from a few years ago, in my opinion. Octomore and wine casks work very well!
All in all, a terrific festival and one I am bound to visit again next year! And with that Inchgower, my wishlist is a little longer again!