Fine Malt Whisky - A London Celebration

“Whisky Live 2007” – A Celebration of Fine Malts

An extraordinary carnival of whisky; 124 fine malts from around the world and only twelve hours, over two sessions, to experience them! Where to begin and what to taste, with no possibility of trying them all. This task made extra difficult for me, as I had notebook in hand preparing this story for Great Grub – the first of a series.

I intend to give an alternative view of whisky; there is no point offering my tasting notes to add to the many that are available from the distilleries, whisky writers and other experts. So, if you want an unconventional perspective into this whisky world, read on!

I ask myself, why is whisky so special? Obviously the taste, but it’s more than just a drink. Vodka, gin and rum are also great drinks but as far as I am aware, they don’t come with the culture and mystery of the famous scotch (please correct me if I am wrong about this). For each stand I visited, I feasted not just on the product, but also the stories and the endless legends that surround the industry. It made for compelling listening; causing me additional time management problems.

Between the distilleries and their distillers is not only fierce competition, but also a camaraderie that certainly supersedes the rivalry. The entire industry - makers, sellers and drinkers alike - are a fellowship joined by an intense passion and love for this wonderful liquor. I dipped my toe in at Whisky Live and now want to dive in. My task is to make Great Grubbers want to get in with me.

The first stand I visited began my two days of surprises at Whisky Live; fine malt whisky comes from Scotland, yes? I have thought so, although I know that Suntory’s Yamazaki or Hibiki would comfortably put Japan on a world whisky map and some Canadians swear by their local offerings. Even the Welsh now are represented by Penderyn What is more, when I was in India last year a cousin suggested I sample his Amrut single malt, but it didn’t compare favourably. So, to this year’s international revelation – Svenska Whiskey - the first distillery in Sweden; Mackmyra. This young, fine malt is full of exciting flavours and just the right length for the taste. For me and many others, it was definitely worth trying and drinking. What is more, the “master distiller” has as much passion and love for her product as any of the great Scottish distillers.

My understanding is that Mackmyra will become more readily available each year and is certainly a dram I would recommend, definitely before the Indian malts I have tasted. Keep your eyes open for this interesting whisky.

If you have any thoughts on single malts from outside Scotland I would be pleased to hear from you through the forum page; let’s get a discussion going!

My next offering for Great Grub will introduce some thoughts on other whiskies, declare what was my “Gold Award” at “Whisky Live 2007” and present some industry folklore I began to gather. So get your lips around a glass of fine malt nectar and let’s get the Whisky Forum started.

Happy drinking for now.


Re: Fine Malt Whisky - A London Celebration

Ahh “usquebaugh”! I am learning as I go through some of my curling and bagpiping buddies. Keep us informed. We are always on the lookout for the new trends.

Re: Fine Malt Whisky - A London Celebration

Great article Michael. Can’t wait for more! One thing I have noticed here in LA is that patrons at a bar ask for “scotch” (I presume to distinguish it from bourbon). With international offerings becoming available, this renders this term somewhat errant. Still, I can’t imagine someone asking for a “Swede” — unless it’s a different kind of bar altogether ;-)

Re: Fine Malt Whisky - A London Celebration