The Friday started by picking up Tom at his home in Amsterdam, then on to Schiphol to pick up Gal who flew in from Israel to join the fun in Nijmegen. After that, on to Den Bosch, to visit De Whiskykoning where a rather stunning bottle of Springbank 21 was waiting for me (and a friend, we’re splitting it) and then on to Overasselt (of all places).
Upon arrival we had to check in, dump our stuff in the dorms and put our bottles on the big BYO table. I brought a 1980’s blend called Ambassador, a random auction bottle and what was left of my Octomore 1. That last one disappeared quickly!
Then, tasting some stuff. We were there at 4 PM and until 6 PM there was no Masterclass or anything, so with two hours to kill we started talking to all familiar faces that were already there and having a dram. I did that too.
The evening after Billy‘s Masterclass lasted long and there was quite some whisky involved. Luckily I took things rather slowly and I found myself being rather selective of what to drink. This might have come off as a snobby way of approaching what other brought, but that was not the intent. After the Glenfiddich masterclass which I didn’t attend some other were nice enough to bring some wee leftovers to taste so I had a sip of the 1974 single cask and a 14 year old virgin oak. Good stuff and better than the generally available ones.
I spent the night talking to Billy, Jason and Rocky. Ben E. wandered off and came back about 100 times to tell everyone at the table he loved them. Jock tried to tell a story about his family history. Something about Budapest and Bucharest.
There was a very geeky whisky quiz too, with LOADS of questions that only real whisky nerds know the answer to and luckily I had some good answers during the trivia round. I suck at ‘Which distillery is this…’ thingies with pictures.
The second day was more or less a copy of the first, only it took longer and there was a short hike involved. The full Scottish breakfast in the morning got everyone up and running again and I spotted some guys who came to breakfast with whisky already.
More masterclasses during the afternoon and in the evening there was an absolutely kick ass barbecue with pulled pork, a hog roast, smoked salmon and a mountain of chicken. Whisky was drunk with that of course.
During the afternoon everybody had a great time with old and new friends and with those smaller groups with which you sat the extra special drams and samples came out. Lagavulin White Horse, Kininvie, Kavalan, all kinds of old and rare stuff. Luckily I was informed of this beforehand so I had some stuff to have go around as well.
The evening was finished by a bonfire and some music, stand-up comedy and the results of the Balvenie Barrel Race (which I did not attend for some reason). More merry making ensued after with loads of music by random people, loads of whisky by other random people and good fun with Jason.
So, why is Maltstock so f-ing cool?
- People have fun without being whisky snobs.
- Everyone is your friend.
- The booze is frigging good, but not the main reason for being there.
- People get hammered but NOBODY is being an asshole. Very remarkable.
- Everything is included so you don’t have to worry about unplanned expenses.
- It’s just incredibly cool to be around so many likeminded people for two full days.