Hielander Whisky Festival Alkmaar

The first year of this brand new festival organized by Wullie MacMorland of Hielander Scottish Restaurant, also in Alkmaar. The idea behind the festival was to keep it a lot smaller than its counterparts in Leiden (next year in The Hague) and Groningen. Only 650 tickets per session, which gave everyone a lot of room to maneuver and have some peace while tasting their new favorite drams…

I spent most of the evening at the booth of Dutch Whisky Connection, where my friends Bert and Michiel displayed a big part of their collection, of which you could have a taste of course. The whiskies I tasted are below…

Ben Nevis 10, Drinks & Gifts bottling, 46%, 2011
Very malty with some saltiness and a hint of light smoke. The taste was a bit heavier than I expected with some liquorice and more alcohol bite than usualy at 10yo and 46%. Quite nice, and quite affordable at 43 euros. (soon available at http://www.drinks-gifts.nl)

3 stars


Yoichi 20, 1990-2010, not yet available in Europe, 50%
Sweet and full fruitiness with a lot of light peat smoke in there. A very typical Yoichi and also typical, quite stunning at 20 years of age. That seems to be the perfect age for their whiskies. The taste is quite dry with a lot of fresh fruit again.

5 stars


Glencadam 32, Old & Rare, 54.9%
A very old Glencadam which I just had to try, after last weeks 15yo standard range. Just to see if this was any good too. It is. Lots and lots of dried raisins, plums and dates on the nose. The taste is quite sweet as well with a lot of honey and fruit again. Lots of sherry influence but never overpowering the whisky. Available here.

5 stars


Lochside 1981-2010, 46%, Berry’s Own Selection
Sweet dough and fresh yellow fruit on the nose. The flavours are more sweet citrus fruits and a fuller taste than I expected, since it is not at cask strength. The nose is good, the mouth is fantastic, but the finish let me down a bit.

4 stars


Rosebank 8Rosebank 8, 40%, bottled around 1970
Lightly smoky? It starts of with a spring meadow full of flowers. It gets a bit more fruity after a minute and on the palate. The finish, however, is like 10 fruit cakes crammed in every sip. On of the best whiskies I ever tried. So many flavours, so many different directions without being an unguided projectile. Very complex and very balanced.

5 stars


Tamdhu 1973-2008, 56%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve
A rather recent bottling that still is available. It starts with candies fruits, honey and a bit of dry, sweet wood. It gets more citrusy after a bit, pink grapefruit and after a while it gets more bitter and a touch of old polished leather appears.

4 stars


Ben Nevis 37, 1967-2010, 54.4%
One of the few Ben Nevises I ever tried. This one made a lasting impression. Hidden fruits like banana. Also dry barley. A little dusty and a little dry, but great balance. Old fashioned whisky with a hint of saltiness as well.

5 stars


Mosstowie 40%, 75cl bottle, 17yo
Very salty, grassy, sandy dunes and sea water. A long finish that gives a bit more fruit and lemongrass. A love it or hate it dram. I am in the first categorie.

4 stars


Brora 28, Daily Dram, 52.3%, 1982-2010
A very light colored Brora that is much more peaty and salty than I am used to. Very clean, lots of smoke. After a bit the sweet cacao and waxiness come through. A bit chalky.

5 stars


Old Pulteny, 8yo, Gordon & MacPhail, Bottled +/- 1990, 40%
VERY waxy, very smooth. Quite full and a lot of white chocolate and sweet spices. Not the best order to taste these in, but a very good dram!

5 stars


Glen Garioch, OB, 8yo, 43%, no more info.
Dried flowers and dried herbs. Quite earthy and a bit drying. A very odd combination of flavours and smells and one I have not encountered before. Not unpleasant but takes some getting used to.

4 stars


Glenlivet 1961, Gordon & MacPhail, 57%
The whisky deliveres a lot of odd sherry flavours with heaps and heaps of woodiness in it. Very spicy, a bit too much. Also cacao and coffee in there. Mocha. An odd one. Not my first choice.

3 stars


Caol Ila 17, Secret Treasures, 1990, 43%
Delivers a lot more punch than you’d expect. Very clean and a lot of slate and minerals. Clean smoke, salty. Very nice and very unexpected!

5 stars

A night that combined highlights and more highlights. An enrichment of my whisky tasting list. But also a money sink… I simple love that Rosebank 8 so much. It is definetely in my top 5 ever.


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About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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2 Responses to Hielander Whisky Festival Alkmaar

  1. Pingback: Top drams of 2011 | Malt Fascination

  2. Pingback: Whisky Fair Limburg (2/2) | Malt Fascination

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